PRIEST RIVER — The Spartan boys basketball team recently opened its season with three losses but has a never-say-die attitude, said head coach Kevin Wylie Dec. 4.
Priest River dropped its opening game at home against Wallace 75-45 Nov. 28. Wylie said the team started off slow and showed improvement in the second half. “We were able to score the ball a lot better in the second half, and our defense picked up as well.”
Keegan Hegel led the Spartans in scoring with 15 points, followed by Dylan Johnson with 12 points. Dausen O’Brien chipped in five, Caden Brennan and Dylan Glazier each added four, and Kody Salesky scored three.
Against Deer Park Nov. 30, Priest River started off much better in the first half. Wylie said, “We looked a little less nervous this game.” The team held a 22-21 halftime lead. However, the second half saw a dropoff in scoring with the Spartans only adding three points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth quarter. Deer Park notched 40 points in the second half and emerged victorious, 61-33.
Hegel scored 11 points, O’Brien added nine, Johnson, Brennan, and Ronnie Downs each scored three, while McCracken and Dylan Glazier added two apiece.
In their Dec. 1 matchup with Selkirk, Wylie said the team “showed a more complete game.”
For three quarters, the Spartans built a lead with good defense and rebounding. Unfortunately, “we fell apart in the fourth quarter,” said Wylie. The team ended up losing 45-43 thanks to a lackluster six points in the fourth quarter. With 15 points to his credit, Hegel was again the leading scorer, followed by eight each from O’Brien and Brennan, five by Johnson and Glazier, three from Downs, and two by Salesky.
Wylie said, “Even though we are 0-3 I know this team has the potential to turn things around and be ready for league play. We have an 8-man roster, and we’re not in 100% basketball shape yet. This team will play hard all season and never give up.”
The team has two returning players from last year’s varsity roster, Hegel and McCracken.