West De Pere loses fast-paced game to Oregon
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – Preparing for a nonconference game against Oregon, it was like looking in a mirror for West De Pere boys’ basketball coach Todd Deschane.
The Panthers love to get up and down the floor, just like the Phantoms.
Both teams can stretch a defense and create open, easy looks.
From the opening tip, it was a track meet, but West De Pere — winners of three straight games coming in — had a tough time keeping pace.
Oregon used its quick-striking offense to pile up 38 baskets and ran away from West De Pere, 96-79, during the annual Shawano Shootout at the Kress Events Center on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
“We, obviously, didn’t play very good defense initially on the ball,” Deschane said. “We broke down on penetration. They got us broken down, and usually, the team that breaks a team down on penetration is going to have a better chance of winning.”
When West De Pere missed a shot, Oregon was quickly out on the fastbreak.
In most cases, the Phantom defenders couldn’t get back in time to adequately defend.
“We didn’t rebound the best; we didn’t box out,” West De Pere junior Ethan Heck said. “That led to them having those early transition buckets on their end, which, obviously, pushed the score up. We needed to be in better positions and get a body on people and then go get the rebound ourselves. We also needed to sprint back, because that’s the only way to stop transition breaks.”
When Oregon shot, it rarely missed.
In scoring a season-high in points, the Panthers hit more than two-thirds of their attempts.
Shoring up on the defensive end is an area that will be stressed in upcoming practices for West De Pere.
“It’s probably a couple shooting drills and then having guys get back on defense,” Heck said. “Have a couple of guys crash, because I know we were taught to have guys that are below a certain point go crash and then guys get back that aren’t there. I felt we were all stagnant. When the shot did go up and when we realized they got the rebound, there was already a guy behind us.”
Because West De Pere runs a similar run-and-gun offense, Heck said he was impressed to see what Oregon could do when it had the ball.
“It shows how effective that offense can be,” Heck, who finished with 15 points, all of which came in the opening half, said. “It also shows the defensive steps we need to take in order to stop teams like that. Our coach always tells us that we have to run because defenses aren’t going to get back — that’s exactly what we did today, we didn’t get back.”
West De Pere (7-3) started the game strong, going up 10-4 after six points from Heck, but Oregon (6-3) answered with an 11-4 run to take its first lead of the game, 15-14.
The Panthers bumped that to 11, 42-31, before going up 49-41 into halftime.
“(At halftime) we talked about working hard and the situation on the ball, you’ve got to work hard there,” Deschane said. “You’ve got to dig down, take some pride and guard your guy. We call it, ‘Guard your yard.’ Unfortunately, that didn’t happen tonight.”
Oregon didn’t waste any time in the second half, going on 9-0 run as Ryne Panzer scored four of his game-high 25 points.
West De Pere got its deficit down to 13, 67-54, following a steal and layup by Kaden Hannula.
However, Oregon scored 17 of the next 25 points to take its biggest lead at 84-62 with 5:30 remaining in the game.
The Phantoms were led by Danny Campbell with 16 points, while Nate Heikkila added 13 points and Andrew Baumgart put in 10 points.
West De Pere has a big game when Shawano comes to town Tuesday, Jan. 4.
The two teams are tied atop the Bay Conference standings at 3-0.
The Phantoms will also host undefeated Green Bay East (8-0, 2-0 Bay) three days later.
It’s an important stretch for West De Pere.
“We need to continue to play hard and get after it,” Deschane said. “Play as a team and continue to grow as a team and as a group, because that’s still part of the whole process with the guys, keeping them together.”