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- Written by Allan Classen
- Published on February 12, 2012
- Hits: 2264
Southridge upset Westview 52-44 last Friday night. That qualifies as an upset—even though the teams are now tied at 5-2 for second in the Metro League—in that Southridge is 10-11 on the season and the Wildcats are 15-5 after being picked No. 1 in the first 6A poll.
Westview also has the state’s top player in 6-10 Landen Lucas, who was announced as a McDonald’s All American nominee before the game.
So how did the Skyhawks do it? I was at the game, and I’m still not sure. They surrounded and hammered Lucas all night long, and the big guy still had 22 points. It’s said that you need to hold errors to a minimum to upset a better team, but that wasn’t the case. Southridge made turnovers in bunches and missed some uncontested layins.
Getting dribble penetration is key to establishing an offense, but for most of the first half, Southridge couldn’t find a guard who could consistently retain possession of the ball in backcourt, much less advance the ball.
Still, the Skyhawks battled, pushed and dove on the floor for balls. They were down 28-23 at half. When Westview got the first four points after intermission, Southridge coach Phil Vessel called time out. They Skyhawks came out in a zone and Westview was never the same. A nine-point run knotted the score. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Southridge pulled away and never looked back.
The only ploy that worked consistently for Southridge was letting 5-10 junior Caleb Herzberg shoot the ball. He had 16 of his teams’ 23 points at half time and 28 for the game. He hit six three-pointers and went 6-6 on foul shots in the fourth period. Herzberg is hard to stop because he can catch, turn and shoot the bomb without a dribble after running his opponent off screens. It’s a rare skill. On this night, he hardly missed.
Westview made only two outside shots in the game. Bonham Stafford, a serious three-point threat for Southridge the past two years, has transferred to Westview, but he seems to have left his outside shot behind. He had only two points in the game.
Westview is a more ordinary team without Cole Gatewood, removed from the roster for academic reasons. Although not a huge scorer (9 PPG), he was a leaper who gave the Wildcats some speed they now seem to lack.
No big man in the state can match up to Lucas, but he has left one part of his game behind since returning to Oregon from prep school. He no longer throws the full-court baseball passes that used to set up easy scores when he was a sophomore at Sunset. Not even Kevin Love was as effective with the long outlet pass.