In the Portland Pilots’ men’s basketball opening game of the season, the team beat the Division II University of Antelope Valley Pioneers, 94-64.
The Pioneers won the tip, the first shot attempt and committed the first foul, but the Pilots were quick to win back possession and score the first two points. Both teams came out aggressively, and the Pilots were eager to start the season out strong.
“I thought they came out and established the things we talked about how we have to play for this year,” head coach Terry Porter said.
There were fouls on both sides and by the 10th minute, both teams were in the bonus. In the first half, the Pilots secured a strong lead over the Pioneers, giving them footing for the rest of the game.
Portland was quick with the turnovers and they were much more adventurous and successful with their three-point shots. Sophomore Marcus Shaver Jr., a point guard, lead the team in points, scoring 15 of the team’s 39 in the first half, and nine of the team’s 55 in the second.
“We just wanted to move the ball,” Shaver Jr. said. “We worked on it at practice. We wanted to get everyone involved today and just knock down shots.”
Before the end of the second half, the Pilots were in the double bonus and went on a six point run, blocking the Pioneers from scoring again before the end of the half.
The Pilots came out shooting hard in the second half, scoring the first shot and three pointer of the half. The team drifted further from the Pioneers in points, scoring 35 more in the first 10 minutes.
Portland was the first to six fouls, and the Pioneers found themselves in the bonus, but the Pilots are still able to secure and widen their lead.
“It definitely helped with our team confidence, we just need to keep it going, keep the same energy,” Shaver Jr. said. “Everybody’s excited for this season and I hope the fans are too.”
In the last five minutes of the second half, the Pilots entered the bonus and held a strong 33 point lead over the Pioneers. Not long after, the Pioneers enter the double bonus but still couldn’t shake Portland’s lead.
By the last three minutes, Portland was in double bonus and their lead was growing. Both teams missed a lot of free throws, but the Pilots’ lead was still secure.
“Every night is a new night that brings out new challenges for us,” Porter said of the coming season. “It’s seeing how our team is going to adjust night to night.”
The Portland Pilots’ next game is Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. against the Westmont Warriors.
Morgan Wahler is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org