Deer Park spoils Priest River’s home opener, Spartans fall 79-39

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(Photo by KYLE CAJERO) Priest River junior Caden Brennan draws contact against Deer Park defender Chase Wisinger on Dec. 1.

Deer Park (Wash.)’s athletic backcourt got the best of the Priest River boys, who dropped their home opener 79-39 on Saturday night.

“Deer Park couldn’t miss,” Head coach Kevin Wylie said. “I don’t know what their percentage was, but they shot the ball very well.”

The Stags connected on 58 percent of their field goals while holding the Spartans to 15-45 field goal shooting, including 6-19 from beyond the arc. Deer Park used a 10-15 showing in the first quarter to put the game away for good.

“We knew they didn’t have a strong post presence and we know we couldn’t go zone on them because they shoot very well,” Wylie said. “We stuck with man [defense] but they just had too many weapons.”

Stags guards Isaac Berglund and Devin Youngblood carved up the Spartans defense by scoring 16 and 21 points, respectively, but their biggest impact came on defense. The duo committed four steals in the first half thanks to their tenacity in Deer Park’s full-court press.

Naturally, the Stags did most of their damage in transition, which didn’t bode well for the young Spartans.

Meanwhile, the Spartans shot 8-19 from the field after Deer Park pulled its starters for the bulk of the second half.

Junior wing Caden Brennan and freshman Trentyn Kreager only managed to find success against the Stags; the duo was responsible for 29 of the Spartans’ 39 points.

Staring at a 49-18 halftime defect, Wylie calmed his guys down in the locker room and made some adjustments, which led to a 5-0 run to start the third quarter.

“We mainly talked about beating the full court press and sticking to our game plan,” Wylie said. “Once we did that and they dropped into their 2-3, we told our guys to penetrate the gaps and find the open shots.”

Neither team managed to get significant production from their benches, as starters accounted for 109 of the game’s 118 points. When all was said and done, the Spartans committed 11 turnovers and were held to 10 assists on 15 field goals.

“All in all, we played okay,” Wylie said. “[We] definitely have some room to improve, but we played against a tough team tonight.”

Senior point guard Keegan Hegel dished out four assists to go along with his six points, and Cole Thompson came off the bench to lead Priest River with five rebounds.

The Spartans (0-1) look for their first win at Upper Columbia Academy on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.

Deer Park 26 23 19 11 — 79

Priest River 8 10 17 4 — 39

DEER PARK — Wisinger 19, Youngblood 21, Berglund 16, Dryden 6, Hanson 10, Scott 4, Black 3, Sweeney 0, Ashley 0, Inman 0.

PRIEST RIVER — Hegel 6, Kreager 13, Brennan 16, McCracken 0, Gordon 2, Thompson 2, Matthews 0, Bell 0, Zapfe 0.

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