COQUILLE — From the start Tuesday night, it was clear Coquille’s four boys basketball seniors wanted their final regular-season home game to be a victory.
Seth Waddington, Colton GeDeros, Cody Deck and Henry Scolari all had either a basket or an assist in the first 65 seconds as the Red Devils jumped to a quick 7-0 lead on the way to a 78-42 win over visiting Glide.
The victory clinched at least a share of first place for the second straight year for Coquille, though the Red Devils want the outright title, which requires winning the regular-season finale at second-place Creswell on Friday night. A victory in that game also would secure a home game in the league playoffs, the easiest way to get a home game in Class 3A playoffs as the Red Devils seek an elusive spot in the state tournament that has escaped their grasp every recent season.
If Coquille plays like it did Tuesday, the Red Devils like their chances at Creswell.
“I was proud of the effort and the hustle,” Coquille coach Willy Layton said. “The seniors stepped up.
“They came out fast. That’s what we’ve been preaching — come out strong.”
Coquille started the game on a 19-3 run and didn’t let up, scoring on fast breaks and in the half-court with outstanding ball movement and sharing. The Red Devils had assists on 19 of their 30 baskets and would have had more if players had made shots while being fouled.
“I think we obviously came out strong,” Waddington said. “We really wanted to set the pace early in the game.
“We like to play fast.”
Waddington had a phenomenal first half, scoring 22 of his 24 points. He also had four steals, four assists, a pair of blocks and four rebounds.
Scolari, who wore a big smile most of the night, did his offensive damage in the second half, when he had 12 of his 14 points. But he contributed in other ways all game, nearly recording a triple double. He had 11 assists and nine rebounds, along with four steals.
“It’s senior night,” he said. “I was just trying to have as much fun as I could.”
As with Friday’s win over La Pine, when Coquille had six players in double figures, the Red Devils had balanced scoring Tuesday.
Jeremy Kistner had 10 points, Deck and Ean Smith added nine each, and Hayden Davis had seven. GeDeros scored five points, but added eight rebounds.
“I thought they shared the ball well,” Layton said. “They rebounded well.”
Coquille dominated on the boards, finishing with a 43-19 rebounding edge. The Red Devils forced 17 turnovers, including 14 steals. Both of those elements will be important Friday at Creswell.
“Defense is going to win the game,” Waddington said. “We’ve got to step up. The offense will come.”
The Red Devils have plenty of incentive.
“We want to win it outright,” Waddington said.
Coquille will have big fans in Pleasant Hill and Glide, which was led by Dillon Towne’s 16 points Tuesday.
If Creswell wins, the third-place Billies and fourth-place Wildcats will be locked out of the league playoffs, just like last year when Coquille and Harrisburg shared the title, setting up a seeding game that Harrisburg won before eventually taking third in the state tournament while Coquille was sent on the road in the playoffs, falling by three points to De La Salle North Catholic, the eventual state runner-up.
The Red Devils want to avoid repeating that scenario at all costs.
Layton said he can see that in his players, who continue to improve every time out.
“Their mind-set is good,” he said. “They want to win as bad as I do.
“They want to get to Marshfield (the state tournament).”