South Wasco County fell behind by a game-high 16 points, staged a 32-24 run in the fourth quarter, but still ended up on the losing end against Dalton Hughes, Jailin Conboy and the Ione Cardinals by a 86-78 score Friday in Big Sky conference boy’s hoops play in Ione.
With a 6-foot-8 inch post player T.J. Patton down in the post, his size and wing span altered many of the Redside shooting attempts.
Ione used that to its advantage and grabbed a 19-12 lead through one quarter of play. SWC came back with a 19-18 burst in the second quarter to go down 37-31 at the break.
“For a lot that first half and parts of the third quarter, anytime we put up a shot around him, he changed it,” said SWC head coach Jim Hull. “We weren’t shooting the same shots we would normally shoot.”
Blessed with a six-point lead to start the second half, the Cardinals kept firing away at the nets and motored out ahead to a 62-46 lead through three periods.
The Redsides finally found a rhythm in the fourth quarter, as David Ocacio scored 19 of his team-high 38 and teammate Travis Hayes added another six.
SWC rallied enough to get the Ione lead down to six points late in the game, but the Cardinals hit free throws and had a few stops to keep the opposition at bay.
“It does not matter if we are up by 20 or down by 20, we expect to be in every game,” Hull said. “We are capable of putting a lot of points on the board quite quickly. As long as we keep that and have that never-say-die attitude, it is going to come around. That is our hope. We know that a few things have to go our way here and there and things could have turned out differently.”
Ocacio hit 14 shots, six from 3-point range, and he added a 4 of 7 from the line.
Hayes finished with 13 points on 2 of 15 from the floor, Nathan Duling tallied 10, and Loreto Morelli was good enough for eight points.
For the cardinals, the transfer trio of Dalton Hughes (24 points), Patton (17) and Conboy (14) combined for 55 points.
Admittedly, Hull said if not for two lopsided losses to Irrigon, if his team would have gotten a few bounces to their way, they could be 10-2.
With the institution of a new style of play, he is seeing marked improvements, so it is still early enough in the season to get things back in the mix.
“There is not another game this year where I feel that we were totally outmanned,” Hull said. “I feel like every game we play, we are that much closer. If we keep improving and getting better, and beat the teams we need to in order to get to districts, we can beat anyone. That is where we want to be.”
SWC (6-6 overall, 1-2 league) hosted Condon-Wheeler Saturday. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, they host Arlington.