A back and forth battle sends the Raiders home in sorrow
With the start of the season just around the corner, Jacks point guard Amari Green is confident that the Jacks will provide excellent results in their season opener against a good Point Loma team in San Diego on Friday.
“We’re ready, we go to San Diego on Thursday and we’ll be playing against two very good teams,” Green said. “We have the right pieces and are tight-knit as a group and as long as we stay together we are going to take it all the way.”
After dealing with a power outage during their first exhibition game and switching arenas to coincide with the HSU volleyball team, HSU men’s basketball returned to Lumberjack Arena for an exhibition game against the Southern Oregon University Raiders on Tuesday night.
As the tip-off signaled the start of the first half, the Jacks wasted no time gaining possession of the ball and building an early 12 point lead over the Raiders. Missed shots from the Raiders hindered any early progress and helped the Jacks employ effective passing strategies.
Jacks players were quick and efficient, but as time progressed in the first half it didn’t take long for the Raiders to overcome its faltered plays and establish a tie. Jacks forward Raysean Scott Jr made his presence known as he maneuvered around the Raiders and found the basket.
Raysean was a recipient of fouls from the Raiders, and at the free-throw line his teammates and opponents were aligned and ready to pounce on the ball at any given moment. He made five of his seven free-throws, which was enough to put points on the board.
Both teams became physically involved and the battle for possession of the ball became intense. Fouls were arising and it was crucial that the Jacks avoided any potential mishaps.
“They were calling ticky-tack fouls, so we tried to keep our hands up so [the refs] could see we weren’t fouled,” Jacks guard Leland Green said.
Despite the game becoming physical, both teams managed to keep their composure by limiting their mistakes and avoiding technical fouls. After the first half Green said their offense improved when the Raiders attempted to outscore the Jacks.
“I think we all played good,” Green said. “We let up the pressure, and as the game went on we realized we needed to apply more pressure.”
Players made their way back to the court for the second half which saw an influx of team chemistry with the Jacks. Activity from Jacks guard Isaiah Pope was at an all-time high as he delivered additional points on the board, giving his team an advantage over the Raiders.
Raysean was substituted earlier in the second half, and his return to the court towards the end became a powder keg to an already highly active crowd which almost blew the roof off Lumberjack Arena.
A staggered Raiders team dwindled in the final seconds of the game, and Raysean still delivered a blow to their morale with his slam dunk, making the final score 89-74. After the game, head coach Steve Kinder shared some inspiring words that he hopes to carry into the next games.
“Through those wars and battles you try to stay composed and poised throughout the game,” Kinder said. “Whether things are going well, you can’t get too high and when things are going poorly you can’t get too low.”