The Stanfield Tigers better have their claws ready Thursday because they’ve got one heck of an opponent to tackle. The Tigers draw East Linn Christian in the first round of the OSAA Class 2A state basketball tournament with the game kicking off the boys action at 1:30 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center.
East Linn Christian has won more games than any other 2A school during the season so far while compiling a 25-3 record and a Tri-River Conference championship. The playoffs may even be the easy part of the schedule for the Eagles as the TRC boasts the top three teams in the class, with East Linn Christian sitting in the head chair.
The Eagles have won their last five games — all by 15 points or more — including wins over three of the other teams left in the playoff bracket. They then embarrassed Gold Beach in the first-round playoff game at home, 73-30 on Saturday.
The recipe will likely remain the same this week against the post-happy boys from Lebanon. At the center of the Eagles’ offense stands 6-foot-7 Austin Bates.
“Dribble-penetrate is what we’re going to have to do if our shots aren’t falling,” Tigers’ senior Devin Bailey said. “Let’s hope our shots are falling.”
The game pits the quick and lethal shooting offense of the Tigers against the big draining defense of the Eagles. The Tigers can score in bunches, averaging 62.4 points per game this season while taking second place in the BMC. East Linn Christian does as good of job as anyone at keeping high scorers grounded, though. They average just 40 points against.
“Our biggest weapon that we have going for us is our defense,” Eagles’ coach Kyle Cowan said. “But it’s going to be hard to contain (Stanfield) and keep them under 40.”