Jags overpower McMinnville boys
The McMinnville boys basketball faced a tough challenge Friday, playing at home vs. the No. 5-ranked Century Jaguars. Grizzlies coach Willie Graham said before the game that his players would have to maximize their possessions and make fewer mistakes to keep up with the gifted Jaguars.
The Grizzlies completed only part of the objective, committing fewer turnovers than Century, but the Jaguars’ excelled shooting and inside with their two all-conference posts and beat McMinnville 68-50 Friday to hand McMinnville its third loss in four games.
“I thought we had a chance,” Graham said. “We wanted to take advantage of our possessions. … But it’s hard against them. You know you have to play faster.”
The Grizzlies (5-7, 1-2) trailed 17-10 after the first quarter and 28-18 at halftime. Century (9-4, 3-0) extended its lead to 49-35 after three quarters before the Grizzlies made a small run to cut the deficit to 55-46 on a 3-pointer from junior Gage Gubrud with 2:43 left in the game.
“We had to take a few more chances,” Graham said. “We did not execute well, I thought.”
The Grizzlies’ lack of size in the post was a factor Friday with the Jaguars starting Austin Flues (6-foot-8) and Austin Sminia (6-5). Flues scored 12 points and Sminia scored 16, helping Century outrebound Mac 27-11.
“Those guys are a good 1-2 punch,” Graham said.
Senior Taylor Vicknair scored 19 points for the Grizzlies and had six rebounds. He persisted inside vs. Flues and Sminia and kept coming back.
“He battles hard,” Graham said. “Taylor played well and he guards the post well too.”
Colson Gower led the Jaguars in scoring with 18 points. He scored 13 points in the first quarter, including 11 straight to end the period.
“Gower hit everything,” Graham said.
Graham said they had tried to focus on guard Madison McCaffrey because he is also a talented shooter. McCaffrey scored 10 points in the game, eight coming in the fourth quarter.
“He has been one heck of a shooter,” Graham said. “He was giving us a lot of trouble.”
McMinnville was 17-of-42 from the field Friday. Gubrud scored 14 points for Mac, and Blaine Parker added 10. Matthew Long scored four, and Nicholas Autencio added three points.
McMinnville’s schedule doesn’t get much easier. It plays at 7:15 p.m. today at Tigard. The Tigers are 7-7 but 3-0 in the Pacific Conference. Tigard beat Tualatin 78-59 Friday at home. It has also beaten Newberg and Glencoe in the Pacific Conference.