Senior Conor Weise pulls up for a jump shot against the Warden Cougars during the Othello basketball jamboree. Wahluke, Warden and Othello each played two 10-minutes games last week as a warm up to the season opener. Photo by Eric LaFontaine.
The Othello boys varsity basketball team accomplished something last Thursday that has eluded them for over a year. They won a game. Following a quick jamboree Tuesday, Dec. 3, against Wahluke and Warden high schools, the Huskies found their rhythm early in their season opener, a non-league game against the visiting Connell Eagles Dec. 5. In the opening quarter, the scoring remained minimal during the first five minutes as Othello built a modest 10-4 lead. The Eagles went on a 8-0 run in a matter of minutes, taking their first of many lead changes in the game. The first quarter ended in a tight Othello lead, 15-14. The second period remained tight with three lead changes until the Eagles pulled away on a 7-0 run, taking a 24-17 lead with less than three minutes to play. A few quick buckets and the Huskies had cut Connell's lead at the half to 26-23. Opening the second half, Othello came out of the gate firing, taking a 29-28 lead by the 6:34 mark. As the third period came to an end, the Huskies remained on top, 37-34. Then came the Eagles' turn. They quickly cut Othello's lead, eventually retaking the lead 42-41 with 3:21 remaining. The momentum of getting that first win early in the season sparked the Huskies, who held the Eagles almost scoreless from there, allowing only two more points (both free throws) - and getting the six-point victory, 49-43. Head coach Dave Herrud, who earned his first varsity win as a head coach, was pleased with his team's performance. "As a team, we had a good effort on defense," Herrud said. "It's good to see we have some good ball handlers who can bring it down the court." Herrud is referring to guards Axel Martinez and Adrian Garza, who played tremendous defense against the Eagles. Martinez had two steals and five points. Garza added a steal, four assists and six points. Seniors Conor Weise and Colton Hall led Othello with 13 and 11 points each. Hall hit 50 percent from behind the arch, scoring nine of his 11 points on three-pointers. Junior Josiah Peterson added eight points and five rebounds. As a team, the Huskies out-rebounded the Eagles, 29-25, controlling their own paint with 13 offensive rebounds to only six by Connell. Defensively, Othello was tough up front, getting seven team steals. Randy Gomez led the team with six boards, while A.J. Garza added five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. "Randy (Gomez) pulled in some key rebounds and a good defensive game," Herrud said. The second-year head coach said his post players really shut down Connell's big men. "It was an excellent defensive game and effort at keeping them off the boards," Herrud said. Herrud was happy with the team's ball control on offense, only allowing 12 turnovers. The team struggled at the free-throw line, making only 50 percent on 8-of-16 shooting. Herrud said the team struggled from the field but hit the shots needed to win the game. Othello hosted Wapato, Tuesday, Dec. 10. Game results were not available at time of press. They travel to Toppenish Saturday, Dec. 14, to face the Wildcats. Tipoff begins at 7:30 p.m.