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Boys basketball: Molalla opens league with win over Estacada

Fourth quarter comeback gives Indians a boost of confidence to start league.


by: CORY MIMMS - Tyler Gengler shoots for three.It looked like Estacada’s boys had bested Molalla early in their first league game of the season on Tuesday. Then, in a fourth quarter comeback, Molalla cleaned up and got the lead.

Opening the game, Estacada took early possession of the ball, but they failed to convert that possession into points. Molalla’s Jonathon Gengler nabbed the first points of the game from the foul line.

The Rangers’ passing game was a little sloppy, allowing Molalla to pick off steals in the paint, but the Indians couldn’t get their shots to drop.

Though the quarter started slow, Estacada finished it strong, taking a 12-4 lead.by: CORY MIMMS - Estacada took possession on the tipoff, and the Rangers went on to outplay Molalla in the first half. The Indians turned the tables in the second half though.

Cody Dunton opened the second quarter with a steal, which he passed down court to Jonathon Gengler, who failed to get the basket. Then, Estacada’s Willie Blankenship sank a three pointer that put the Indians in an 11-point deficit, and the Rangers hit their stride.

Molalla continued to pressure the Rangers’ offense, but with only a little success. Conner Green blocked a shot midway through the quarter that put the Indians’ fans on their feet cheering. Yet, Estacada continued to build their lead right up to the half, which closed 28-15.

After halftime, Estacada hit a wall, and the Indians capitalized on it. Austin Alexander sank a two-point basket, which Tyler Gengler followed up with a bucket. Carson Wolfe dropped in a basket and got points at the foul line. The Indians closed Estacada’s lead to 35-27 by the end of the third.

Molalla came out in the fourth with confidence and determination, as Tyler Gengler nabbed a steal in the opening seconds and drove down court for the layup. Jonathon Gengler, Tyler’s younger brother, then sank two from the foul line, and what had looked like a sure win for Estacada in the first half began to wobble.

From the sideline, Coach Tyler Kelleher guided the Indians, encouraging them to slow down, take time setting up their shots, and control the ball with confidence.

Tyler Gengler did just that, cashing in for three and tying the game at 39-39.

The Rangers broke the tie, with Mitch Nation sinking a foul shot, but Estacada didn’t hold the lead for long. Reed Aylett put the Indians up by one point with a two-point basket.

Molalla outplayed Estacada in the final minutes of the game, however, the Indians continued to have trouble getting their shots to drop. The Indians had the opportunity to put six points on the board, but they missed easy shots.by: CORY MIMMS - Tyler Gengler takes a fall, but passes to his brother, Jonathon Gengler (not pictured).

Then Tyler Gengler hit another three pointer, which put the Indians up 44-40. Estacada slugged right back with a two pointer. With half a minute remaining on the clock, Estacada sent Green to the foul line. He sank one shot, giving Molalla a three-point cushion.

With the pressure on, the Rangers looked for the tie, shooting back-to-back shots from the three-point line. They failed to find the basket though.

Aylett got the final point of the game from the foul line, and the Indians won 46-42.

It was a confidence-building win for the Indians, who are excited for league to be here after a hard early season. As the athletes funneled off the court into the locker rooms, Kelleher smiled and simply said, “We needed that.”



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