IVHS boys basketball drop 1, win 2 on the week

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School boys basketball team rebounded from a disappointing loss from the beginning of the week, picking up two Valley Coast Conference wins and going 2-1 last week. The Cougars are now 11- 4 on the year, with a 5-3 mark in the conference. They currently are ranked #13 in 2A by the OSAA.
On Tuesday, Illinois Valley traveled to Oakland to take on the undefeated Oakers, and wound up on the short end of a 61-39 decision. On the following Firday, the Cougars traveled to Bandon and came away with an important VCC win by a 47-38 count. Finally, Saturday, I.V. hosted Waldport and pounced on the Irish 59-34
I.V. was very competitive with the Oakers before a futile fourth quarter led to the loss. Oakland is 17-0 on the year and sports a 9-0 record in league play. The No. 8 Oakers held a slim 13-12 lead after one period and gradually increased the lead throughout the game. After increasing the lead to 28-22 at the half, the Oakland edged the Cougars 14-11 in the third, putting the score at 42-33 going into the final eight minutes. The Oakers turned the game into a rout by outscoring Illinois Valley 19-6 during the final stanza. Poor shooting hurt I.V. as the locals shot just 29% from the field during the game.
As per the norm, senior Daniel Polk was the Cougars’ primary offensive threat. Polk, who is the third leading in scorer in the state at all levels according to coach Tony Hess, tallied 15 points in the loss. Other Cougars who got in to the scoring column during the loss included Zack Dugas, Trenton Davis and Keagan Russell who all had 6 points apiece, Brendyn Bruner with three, Connor Talty with two and Steven Terry with one.
On Friday, I.V. traveled to Bandon and got back track with 47-38 decision. The game started slowly for both teams and after the initial eight minutes the Cougars held a slim 7-5 advantage. The Cougars maintained their edge as both teams doubled the pace in the second quarter, with I.V. holding a 21-17 lead at the intermission. The Cougars extended the lead to 37-29 after three, before winning the final quarter 10-9.
Polk was again the leading scorer for the Cougars tallying 17 points on the night. Bruner rebounded from his earlier performance getting 14 points on the night. Dugas and Davis each added 7 for I.V. Russell finished the scoring for the Cougars with 2 points.
The Waldport Irish visited Cave Junction Saturday for the third VCC game of the week for the Cougars. I.V. grabbed an early 11-2 lead after the opening stanza, and the Irish never really threatened after that, as I.V. left with a key 55-34 victory to keep pace in the VCC playoff race.
Polk scored all 12 of the Cougars points in the second quarter as I.V. outran the Waldport on the way to a 23-10 halftime lead.
Illinois Valley emphasized teamwork in the third quarter, as five different players scored and the Cougars went into the final quarter leading 34-22. The Cougars really lit up the nets in the final stanza, outrunning the Irish 21-12 to give some of the bench players some run in the 55-34 win.
Polk was amazing, lighting up the Irish for 28 points before heading to the bench in the final minutes. Dugas was next on the Cougar scoring list with 8, while Bruner and Terry each chipped in 6 points. Russell finished with 3 points and Brantley Arroyo scored off an offensive rebound to get into the scorebook with 2 points.
I.V. hosts a pair of Valley Coast Conference games in Cave Junction this week. Then, Thursday the Cougars will hit the road for a third game of the week and their fifth game in seven days. I.V. will host Lowell Monday in a game rescheduled due to the ice storm that hit the Willamette Valley last weekend. On Tuesday, Gold Beach comes to Cave Junction for a rematch of the a hotly contested game which the Cougars lost during the winter break. Gold Beach won that game 66-60 largely due to a huge advantage in free throw attempts. I.V. is traveling Thursday for a game at Reedsport.