BANDON — The Bandon boys basketball team is loaded with experience and riding the momentum from a successful playoff run during the 2019-20 season. North Bend has just one returning player with extensive varsity experience.
So it wasn’t necessarily surprising that the Tigers beat the visiting Bulldogs when they met Tuesday night, Bandon prevailing 43-26.
“It feels like we didn’t skip a beat from when we left off (at the state tournament,” Bandon coach Vince Quattrocchi said of his squad, which advanced to the Class 2A tournament nearly 15 months earlier. “When we started practice and looked at what we’ve got, we saw the returners picked things up quick.”
Bandon jumped in front of North Bend early and, aside from one stretch when the lead dipped to 11 points in the second half, was in control to win for the second straight night. The Tigers had also beaten Waldport 65-46 in the Sunset Conference opener Monday night.
The experience has shown in a couple of positive ways.
First, the Tigers are relatively deep.
“We have a really good eight-man rotation,” Quattrocchi said. “We aren’t concerned who we put on the court.”
Indeed, all eight players saw the court in every quarter Tuesday night against North Bend. And the leading scorer on the night, Owen Brown, was one of those who started on the bench.
The other strength of the Tigers is a variety of scorers and a complete disregard among the players for who gets the points.
“They’re a good group of kids and they like to play together,” Quattrocchi said. “They are unselfish. They pass the ball around and we get to see several different options on offense.”
Brown scored 11 points Tuesday and Trevor Angove had 10.
A night earlier, Luke Brown, Owen’s older brother, led the way with 13 points, while Sean White and Andrew Robertson had 12 each and Trevor Angove 11. Anthony Hennick scored seven against the Irish, Cooper Lang six and Hunter Angove four. The only player in the rotation not to score Monday was Owen Brown.
Quattrocchi, understandably, likes to have the deep rotation.
“It’s a good problem to have,” he said.
North Bend, meanwhile, struggled to get in an offensive rhythm.
The Bulldogs got good shots much of the night, but couldn’t get them to go in, which coach Bill Callaway said is a symptom of an inexperienced team.
“We only have Brady (Messner) back with varsity experience,” Callaway said.
In three games now, including two losses to Siuslaw last week, most of the players have come out a little wide-eyed in the face of defensive pressure, he said.
“They need to get some confidence in themselves on the offensive side,” Callaway said.
North Bend managed just three points in each of the first two quarters while falling behind 22-6 at halftime Tuesday.
By the end of the game, Messner had a team-high 10 points, while freshman Sam Mickelson had seven.
North Bend also got good minutes out of two other freshmen — Peyton Forester and Jason Padgett.
The Bulldogs had strong effort all night and were solid on defense most of the game.
Callaway hopes his players can quickly build up their offensive confidence in a schedule that includes most of the other schools on the South Coast.
“Hopefully, they know they can compete,” he said.
Ideally, the Bulldogs will be able to build for the future, when many of the players on the roster will still be on the squad since they are juniors or younger. Even though the season is coming at the end of the school year instead of in its traditionally winter time frame, it is good for the program.
“We are getting to play,” Callaway said. “That’s good.”
Bandon, meanwhile, has eyes on a spot in the Class 2A postseason, which could come from being one of the league’s top two teams or from getting an at-large berth in the playoffs.
Quattrocchi said he sees excitement in his team and the talent to make that a possibility.
“I think going to state last year really rejuvenated the kids,” he said.