The Canby boys basketball team kept their composure against the scrappy visitors from Southridge High Wednesday night to escape with a 77-68 victory and improve to 2-0 on the season.
It was another high-scoring affair for the Cougars, who are averaging almost 80 points in their first two games. New transfer Payton Meyers had his best showing in a Canby uniform with a game-high 32 points and seven rebounds.
Senior guard Alex Evans had another good night from beyond the arc, burying three 3-pointers en route to 17 points and adding seven assists. Center Jacob Strand had his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 boards. Layne Stricker scored 27 (five 3s) to lead the Skyhawks.
They would have a much tougher time disposing of Southridge, which jumped out to an early 12-4 lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter.
“I thought we held our own really well,” head coach Craig Evans told the Current afterward. “Southridge jumped on us real quick, but we stayed composed. We stayed calm and just kept doing our thing.”
Facing their first deficit of the young season, the Cougs responded beautifully, rattling off 14 straight points and ending the frame on a 17-2 run.
The Skyhawks would regain the lead in the third, ultimately increasing it to as many as nine points, but Canby battled back again.
The Cougs’ team leaders this season bring a lot of mental toughness, Evans explained, forged in the adversity of the Covid-shortened season earlier this year.
“You know, we had a lot of injuries last year, so Kellan Oakes, Dominik Pepper, Jacob Strand — they all got starting experience,” he said. “They got to play a lot last season. And now, I have five guys who are varsity players starting. They’ve been playing together forever and their chemistry is really good. This is a group that trusts the coaches, trusts the system.”
Canby’s inside-out tandem of Meyers and Evans was devastating again Wednesday night, combining for nearly 50 points.
“They’re a good one-two punch,” the coach said. “If you’re going to key on Alex and try to stop him, then Payton’s going to have a big game, and vice versa.”
Next up is the Cougs’ first road test as they face the McNary Celtics (0-0), who have not played yet this season. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Friday.
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