Hertel, Sheridan boys blast off against Willamina

By ROBERT HUSSEMAN

Of the News-Register

WILLAMINA – The Sheridan boys basketball team’s motivation is clear for its regular-season finale against Taft tonight.

Win, and root for rival Willamina to beat Westside Christian, and the Spartans may yet make the Class 3A West Valley League playoffs.

“At the beginning of the season, we wanted to be higher,” Sheridan junior Jacob Hertel said of the sixth-place Spartans. “But we’re in a spot to go to state. Anybody in this league can beat anyone at any given time.”

Hertel helped his team’s cause Tuesday night by scoring 19 of his game-high 23 points against the Bulldogs in the first half. Sheridan snapped a five-game losing streak at Willamina’s expense, 67-53, at Willamina High School.

Dominique Card had 19 points for Sheridan (12-12, 4-9 WVL), and Vinny Goonan chipped in 11 points. The Spartans were buoyed by an 11-minute stretch in the second and third quarters in which they outscored the Bulldogs 18-5.

“We just didn’t play man-to-man defense,” Willamina coach Mike Hughes said. “No one sees the ball coming, no one helps. We have one kid even trying to get a rebound; the rest are running back.”

The game’s free throw disparity also irked Hughes. Sheridan was 23-of-32 from the free throw line for the game, while Willamina shot three free throws on Tuesday night, making two of them.

“What do you say about that?” Hughes asked. “That’s 10-to-1.”

Shane Thomas led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while A.J. Farmer was hot from beyond the arc, making four of his eight attempted three-pointers for 12 points.

Willamina plays the Eagles in Portland tonight at 7:30 p.m. The Sheridan-Taft game tips off at 7 p.m. at the Spartan Dome.

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