Two Eagle River eyes postseason, picks up steam on hardwood
PABLO – There’s one thing you can say about the Eagles: when their feet hit the floor, opponents better learn to fly if they want to keep up with one of the fastest playing teams out there.
Under the thumb of co-coaches Jami Hanson and Rollie Sullivan and with the help of assistant Artie Mendoza, the Eagles have made an impact on the Class C high school maple, with break out performances launching the Eagles into possible contention come Districts.
Eagle senior Alex Quequesah has proven to be one of those “breaking out,” taking the second half of the season by storm and putting up points for the Eagles while on a mission to lead his team to victory.
“Alex is doing a great job being a leader on the floor,” Hanson said. “He’s really doing a good job managing the game for us.”
With the adopted name of The Governor, given to him by Coach Sullivan, Quequesah is living up to his leadership role among his teammates.
Also making an impression on Hanson are Issaiah Mathias, Chino Lira, Eugene Parker and Josiah Whitworth who, according to Hanson, are “doing a great job” as well while Julian Cutfinger has added some leverage on the court posting good numbers under the net.
Friday Cutfinger did just that, “posted numbers,” as he hit five from the three point territory logging a team-high 24 points to lead Two Eagle River to a triple-digit victory over St. Regis.
With Eagle hometown fans making noise in the stands, a 20 point lead going into half time fueled the Eagles to stay ahead, ending with the 101-88 14-C victory.
Along with Cutfinger, four other Eagles joined the 10-plus club, including Lira with 20, Quequesah with 18, Parker scored 17 and Whitworth netted 10.
In a tough bout in Superior Saturday the Eagles posted a split for the week after taking a hit from the Bobcats, going home with the 57-69 conference loss despite nailing 11 three-pointers, four out of Quequesah’s hands. Quequesah netted 19 overall to lead the Eagles in the book while Lira added 10.
With Districts only two weeks away the Eagles are working out the kinks to smooth the way for a hopeful top-three placing with an invitation to step up to the Divisional Tournament, just missed last year as Two Eagle River placed fourth.
Hanson believes his Eagles have made some great progress since the beginning of the year and though the Eagles have been hanging out in the middle of the conference boat with a 5-6 league record, they are in perfect position to take the oars and row themselves into a championship battle at the District tourney.
“Two Eagle basketball is District basketball,” Hanson said. It is his motto that in postseason, every team is a contender no matter where you sit in regular season conference play. He knows the Eagles are hungry to win with fan support stoking their fire.
“The kids really come to play and hopefully we’ll get the crowds there too for the kids,” he said.
And for his kids Hanson has a few words – “Just go out there and play,” he said. “They know how to play and just don’t think about it. It’s OK to score, put the ball in the basket.”
Two Eagle River will wrap up their regular season play with a game against undefeated Warriors in Arlee Saturday before heading into District play held in Pablo at the Joe McDonald Fitness Center Feb. 19-21.
Two Eagle River 20 27 20 34 – 101
St. Regis 10 17 25 36 – 88
Julian Cutfinger 24, Chino Lira 20, Alex Quequesah 18, Eugene Parker 17, Josiah Whitworth 10, Dante McDougall 6, Issaiah Mathias 4, Nolan Antiste 2.
Two Eagle River 11 15 18 13 – 57
Superior 18 14 19 18 – 69
Alex Quequesah 19, Chino Lira 10, Eugene Parker 7, Julian Cutfinger 7, Josiah Whitworth 6, Dante McDougall 6, Donnie Herman 2.