NORTH BEND — The last time the Reedsport Brave and Bandon Tigers played a boys basketball game, it came right down to the final possession in overtime as Reedsport escaped Bandon with a win.
Friday night at North Bend, it was looking like a similar result until an 13-0 Reedsport run gave the Brave all the cushion it needed in a 53-45 win on senior night.
“I like playing down here,” Reedsport's Marc Chaney said of one of the three gyms the Brave have borrowed since their own facility isn't available because of structural damage in several trusses. “They are probably the nicest gyms we get to play in than obviously our home gym because we like that one the best. But yeah, I thought we played really good as a team. Came through.”
Both benches knew the size advantage held by Reedsport, and the Brave sought to exploit that advantage early by dumping it to Korde Parmenter and letting him work at the block.
But this had another effect. The Bandon defense, which was focusing on collapsing on the interior, had to leave a lone defender on Tyreece Gardner at the perimeter, and he made Bandon pay.
The Reedsport senior scored 22 points, including a dagger of a 3-pointer that halted a potential Bandon run with 3:09 left in the fourth quarter and gave Reedsport a seven-point lead at 47-40. Bandon came no closer than six for the remainder.
“I think, really, Tyreece was the difference in the game tonight,” Bandon coach Matt Angove said. “He hit some long 3s and the first time we did a better job on him. He didn’t get that hot hand. But this time (he did).”
Bandon’s hot 3-point shooting kept the Tigers in it early. Braydon Freitag, who finished with a team-high 16, and Matt Yarbor each hit first-quarter 3s as the Tigers kept pace with Reedsport. Gardner and Freitag each hit contested 3s in the quarter's last 10 seconds to send it to the second quarter tied at 13.
Jason Wilhite hit a 3-pointer for Bandon in the second quarter and Freitag hit another and the undersized Tigers rebounded well enough to hold a 28-25 lead at halftime. Bandon led 28-22 after Wilhite’s 3-pointer, but a Dallas McGill free throw and two Javier Analco foul shots gave Reedsport some momentum entering the locker room.
“Offensively, we got good shots,” Angove said. “Just second half, couldn’t hit nothing.”
Yarbor hit his second 3-pointer on the third quarter’s first possession to give Bandon its largest lead of the night at 31-25, but it was short-lived.
Gardner hit a 3 on Reedsport’s next possession, then it scored another 10 straight points and effectively put the game away. Gardner scored eight of the 13 points during the run, and Chaney had four more. Chaney finished with 14 points and Parmenter had 11.
Defensive pressure led to several layups in the run.
“We knew if we could keep them on one side of the floor and not let the penetration down the middle of the key we’d be fine,” Reedsport coach Allen Chaney said of his team's improved defense in the third quarter. “That’s what we did the second half.”
There were some rather surprising contributions from Bandon that give reason for optimism later. Wyatt Woody, a freshman who suited up Friday night because of Reedsport’s size, scored seven first-half points as Bandon pushed the Brave in the first half, and Josh Minkler, another freshman, gave good minutes as well.
It’s an indication that Bandon’s floor is rising in the absence of athletic forward Coby Smith, out with a season-ending injury.
“We’ve seen (Woody) and Josh Minkler be getting a few (minutes) and there’ll be games where they’re giving us some points,” Angove said. “You’re not always expecting it.”
For Reedsport, things are coming together. Marc Chaney has now played in more games since his return from injury than he missed, so Reedsport’s rotation is set and has been playing together for a month and a half.
Also Leo Vopel has earned more minutes playing alongside McGill and Analco.
“We’re learning as a team as it goes,” Marc Chaney said. “Always.”
Reedsport clinched at least a tie for second in the Sunset Conference and will earn a playoff spot either by winning its regular-season finale on Tuesday or having third-place Waldport lose to league champion Toledo.
Reedsport closes Sunset Conference play against Myrtle Point at the Pirate Palace at Marshfield on Tuesday. Bandon hosts Gold Beach in its final game.