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Dragons seek consistency

Dallas guard Evan Courtney (3) attempts to corral a loose ball against Crescent Valley on Friday night.

Photo by Lukas Eggen
Dallas guard Evan Courtney (3) attempts to corral a loose ball against Crescent Valley on Friday night.



DALLAS — The first two games in Mid-Willamette Conference play revealed a stark reality for Dallas’ boys basketball team.

When things are clicking, the Dragons can compete with anyone in the league.

When things go awry, Dallas must find ways to keep themselves in games.

On Jan. 9, the Dragons defeated Corvallis 53-49 in overtime.

“We played with a lot of hustle,” guard Evan Courtney said. “We wanted to play defense. We came ready to play.”

With the game tied at 49, Dallas shut out the Spartans in overtime as the Dragons opened league play on a high note.

“It was huge,” coach Trent Schwartz said. “To win a close game like that, it was good to see them step up and win.”

Any good vibes were short lived. On Friday, Dallas lost to Crescent Valley 62-33.

“We fell into some old habits of trying to force the issue when things got tough,” Schwartz said.

The Dragons struggled to make shots early and committed 21 turnovers during the loss. Those turnovers led to easy baskets for the Raiders.

“When shots aren’t falling, playing good defense, taking care of the basketball and hustling can mitigate some of that poor shooting,” Schwartz said. “We didn’t do that. Our defense went downhill in the second half, particularly our post defense.”

By the time the second half began, the game had long been decided.

“The air kind of came out of us,” Courtney said.

Finding ways to stay in games — and not letting frustration get the best of them — has been an ongoing battle.

“We’ve got to ride out the storm when shots aren’t going in,” Schwartz said. “That’s our biggest issue. Emotionally, we start to get down, and that brings other parts of our game down that don’t have to be linked to that. That’s the consistency I’d like to see, the maturity to say, we didn’t score but let’s get a stop here on defense and get a better shot.”

Courtney will play a major role in the Dragons’ ability to find consistency — especially on defense.

“I have a goal to be a lockdown defender,” Courtney said.

That requires more than being ready for the physical challenges. It’s about knowing the tendencies of his opponents.

“I think it’s a mental thing,” Courtney said. “You tell yourself to be aggressive and not lay back. Don’t let your guy get easy shots, and know where he is at all times. I study up on him, what he does well and take that away from him.”

Courtney has also showed his potential on offense, including scoring 21 points against Pendleton on Jan. 2.

DALLAS — The first two games in Mid-Willamette Conference play revealed a stark reality for Dallas’ boys basketball team.

When things are clicking, the Dragons can compete with anyone in the league.

When things go awry, Dallas must find ways to keep themselves in games.

On Jan. 9, the Dragons defeated Corvallis 53-49 in overtime.

“We played with a lot of hustle,” guard Evan Courtney said. “We wanted to play defense. We came ready to play.”

With the game tied at 49, Dallas shut out the Spartans in overtime as the Dragons opened league play on a high note.

“It was huge,” coach Trent Schwartz said. “To win a close game like that, it was good to see them step up and win.”

Any good vibes were short lived. On Friday, Dallas lost to Crescent Valley 62-33.

“We fell into some old habits of trying to force the issue when things got tough,” Schwartz said.

The Dragons struggled to make shots early and committed 21 turnovers during the loss. Those turnovers led to easy baskets for the Raiders.

“When shots aren’t falling, playing good defense, taking care of the basketball and hustling can mitigate some of that poor shooting,” Schwartz said. “We didn’t do that. Our defense went downhill in the second half, particularly our post defense.”

By the time the second half began, the game had long been decided.

“The air kind of came out of us,” Courtney said.

Finding ways to stay in games — and not letting frustration get the best of them — has been an ongoing battle.

“We’ve got to ride out the storm when shots aren’t going in,” Schwartz said. “That’s our biggest issue. Emotionally, we start to get down, and that brings other parts of our game down that don’t have to be linked to that. That’s the consistency I’d like to see, the maturity to say, we didn’t score but let’s get a stop here on defense and get a better shot.”

Courtney will play a major role in the Dragons’ ability to find consistency — especially on defense.

“I have a goal to be a lockdown defender,” Courtney said.

That requires more than being ready for the physical challenges. It’s about knowing the tendencies of his opponents.

“I think it’s a mental thing,” Courtney said. “You tell yourself to be aggressive and not lay back. Don’t let your guy get easy shots, and know where he is at all times. I study up on him, what he does well and take that away from him.”

Courtney has also showed his potential on offense, including scoring 21 points against Pendleton on Jan. 2.

“Evan has the athleticism and the explosiveness to be a dangerous scorer,” Schwartz said. “He’s a really good athlete. If he gets his perimeter shot going and guys have to come out and guard him, that will open up his game even more.”

But finding that success on a consistent basis has remained elusive.

The Dragons played Woodburn Tuesday after press time and plays at Lebanon Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Central Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“This is a key stretch,” Schwartz said. “These are teams we need to beat if we want to get to the postseason.”

Find a way to win, and Dallas will be off to a strong start to league play. Lose, and the Dragons could find their backs against the wall early.

“We know if we play to our potential, we could be a top three team in the league,” Courtney said. “We have to come ready to win and ready to play.”



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