Senior Trevor Walker scored 13 and junior point guard Ryan Rodriguez picked up 11, but Ephrata got the best of Othello Tuesday, Dec. 18, winning 68-52. Head coach David Herrud said his team played a solid second half, earning 35 points, but hopes to see an entire game look like that in the near future. "Second half, we were doing most of the stuff right ... came back a bunch," Herrud said. "The kids were working hard." Rodriguez, along with Walker and Conor Weise, did a good job of attacking the bucket and drawing fouls in the physical game with each team picking up a significant amount of fouls. Herrud liked what he saw with his players pursuing a big variety of options to score. But, the Huskies still made mistakes, Herrud said. He's looking forward to using their upcoming break to ramp up the intensity of practices to get his guys used to intense games like this. "We're going to pick up the intensity of practices two or three notches and make sure they're used to that type of pressure all the time," Herrud said. For all the strengths he saw in the second half, he felt the first half wasn't their best performance. Ephrata outscored Othello 36-17 and Herrud said the Huskies had trouble moving their feet at an adequate level. "On our offense, a guy wasn't open at first so we just stood around," Herrud said. "We threw the ball away probably four or five times right at the beginning of the game ... and the reason why is because everybody's not moving." Herrud said Ephrata looked like a team the Huskies could beat and they provided opportunites for the Huskies to do so. He still feels like a bit more game experience will pay off and help his team adjust to the level of competition in the CWAC. "Most of these kids are adjusting to this league," Herrud said. This is Herrud's first year as the varsity coach and he's making adjustments, as well. He can see the team improving and praises his team's effort for working to get their first win. "They're doing everything they can to win the game," he said.
Top-ranked Bulldogs take Huskies down, 68-24 The Huskies traveled to Ellensburg Thursday, Dec. 20, and lost 68-24 to the Bulldogs who are undefeated and currently leading the CWAC. Othello was able to close the gap to eight, trailing 20-12 in the final minutes before halftime, but the Bulldogs' strong defense took over from there and stopped Othello cold. Othello head coach David Herrud knew it would be a tough game going in. Numbers don't lie and the truth, is the winless Huskies went to face the undefeated Bulldogs and their defense that kept them out of the game for almost the whole 32 minutes. "They're the top team in the league and they just played extremely tough defense," Herrud said. "We're still playing a little catch up." In the second quarter, when the Huskies did make a solid effort to catch up, the Bulldogs employed a half court trap that stifled Othello and opened up Ellensburg's offense to score 10 unanswered points. The Huskies were down 30-12 at halftime. "They put a half court trap on us and we just couldn't do anything," Herrud said. "They took it away from us right before halftime and they scored a bunch of points right there." The Bulldogs forced Othello into going for low-percentage shots by cutting off inside lanes and pushing Huskies attackers to the perimeter. Othello shot 2-13 from three-point range with junior Ryan Rodriguez and Derek Cantu making one each. "They're so aggressive defensively that we just went back and we weren't in the spots we needed to run the offense effectively," Herrud said. Ellensburg's forceful defense gave Herrud an area to work on during their break before resuming play Jan. 4. "We do have a problem getting some offense against that really good, aggressive man-to-man," Herrud said. "This break's going to really help us a ton and get some offense going." Herrud wants his team to be aggressive on offense and able to attack the basket and will focus on that in their winter break practices. Taking on a team as tough as Ellensburg takes a lot of guts and the coach praised his team for working hard knowing they'd have a rough time. "The kids worked hard and that's not the issue," Herrud said. "It's not like they gave up ... they were all really working hard and trying to do what they could to win the game and score." The Huskies will take to the court again Friday, Dec. 4, facing Prosser and then Selah the next night. Both games are at home and are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.