The Evergreen Plainsmen will tell you they’re far from where they want to be in the boys basketball season.
But 14-2 overall and still unbeaten in 3A Greater St. Helens League play with four regular-season games remaining sure sounds nice.
“It’s a lot better than 8-12,” senior Carter Monda said, referring to the Plainsmen’s record a season ago.
A playoff berth is in sight and so is a league title after Friday’s 63-57 home victory over Prairie at the Evergreen Field House.
Evergreen is two-games up on second-place Prairie (9-7 overall, 4-2 3A GSHL) with four league games remaining. How far the Plainsmen have come is a telling moment for third-year coach Brett Henry, and a testament to their chemistry and teamwork from a junior-heavy roster a season ago to featuring 11 seniors.
“It’s such a unique group,” he said, “and they play together. I’m so proud of them.”
Monda finished with 20 points, Jaden Stanley added 16 and Mario Herring chipped in 13 to help Evergreen push its season-best winning streak to seven. It hasn’t dropped a game since a Dec. 22 nonleague loss to Oregon City (Ore.).
The second win in the winning streak came in the first meeting between Prairie and Evergreen on Jan. 7, a game Evergreen won, 57-54.
On Friday, the final gap might’ve been larger, but Prairie stayed close throughout.
A corner 3 by Monda — he went 4 of 6 from 3-point range Tuesday — gave Evergreen its first double-digit lead at 55-44 with 5 minutes, 31 seconds to play, but Zeke Dixson (game-high 23 points) kept the Falcons in it with seven of the team’s 17 points coming in the final eight minutes. The Falcons’ deficit was no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Reece Walling added 11 for Prairie.
The Plainsmen know they’re in a good place, but there’s still more work to do, said Stanley, Evergreen’s junior point guard.
“We have a lot to prove,” said Stanley, who had 12 of his 16 points in the first half, in addition to five steals. “We have to keep going, and keep getting better.”
For Monda, he knows the Plainsmen can go as far as they take themselves.
“That’s up to us on where we want to go and what we want to accomplish,” he said, “and that’s what we’re striving for.”
EVERGREEN 63, PRAIRIE 57
PRAIRIE — Aidan Fraly 8, Jimmie Barton 5, Zeke Dixson 23, AJ Dixson 8, Mark Frazier 4, Brady Gagnon 0, Reece Walling 11. Totals 23 (4) 5-9 57.
EVERGREEN — Camren Smith 5, Jaden Stanley 16, Izaac Romero 7, Tyler Ricketts 0, Mario Herring 13, Carter Monda 20. Totals 20 (8) 5-6 63.
Prairie 10 17 13 17—57
Evergreen 17 16 14 16—63
JV — Prairie won.