A true tale of two halves. Here are our takeaways:
- PAA can play. Short and simple. They’re intelligent, don’t take unnecessary risks, and handle pressure very well. The Cougars are senior heavy, and it shows.
- PAA owned the boards in the first half. Length wasn’t heavily favoring the Cougars, nor was size, but they attacked every loose ball like their lives depended on it. Second chance points was the driving force behind PAA’s first half domination. The Cougar front court is athletic, strong, and, most importantly, deep. Their rotation at the 4 and 5 spots would be the envy of any post loving basketball coach. That depth could make them a serious matchup problem against teams like Amity, Dayton, and Santiam Christian.
- They took care of the ball, forced turnovers, and capitalized on everything. Simultaneously able to have 4 players crashing the boards, but never get caught on a fast break over their heads, and were consistently able to start breaks of their own. A truly beautiful first half from the Cougars.
- Westside in the first 16 minutes looked like a team that hadn’t seen each other in days. Given the Covid situation in the building (their first game v OES was postponed Monday), this might not be far from the truth.
- Second half, script flip. Every board was going the Eagles’ way, every turnover a result of Westside defensive pressure. The pace of play picked up, PAA was uncomfortable, and it seemed for a bit Westside was going to complete the comeback.
- They got on the break, they were moving the ball well, they were flat out dominating the Cougars, who in spots couldn’t even get past half court.
- But there was one thing Westside couldn’t do, first half and second: shoot free throws. At first glance without consulting the book, Westside left probably 10-13 points at the free throw line, and it would be their undoing.
- The closest they got to taking the lead was a tie midway through the 4th quarter. The Eagles had many opportunities to take the lead and later put the game on ice possibly, but couldn’t capitalize.
- Westside does in-fact have the talent that offseason hype had promised, but it’s raw. Is it raw because of a lack of time together, because of inexperience? Or do they just look raw, simply because of a week derailed by a covid case within the school building? Either way, something just wasn’t clicking for the first 16 minutes. If they play like they did in the 3rd consistently, they’re contenders.
- PAA is very, very solid. At first glance, this is a Coos Bay team. A solid, experienced roster with a get a bucket/get a stop star in Andrew Vaughan, that’s the formula in 3A basketball. OES, Dayton, and St Mary’s have won titles in the last decade with that same formula. Are they Dayton circa 2018? Probably not. But can they compete with anyone this season? Yes.