Capitals can’t find answer for Foster, Sea-Kings

Capitals center Vincent Boumann throws a pass over his shoulder in the game against the California Sea-Kings on Saturday, April 23, at the Salem Armory Auditorium. (Joshua Manes/Keizertimes)

Even with a 32-10 run in the second half, the Salem Capitals couldn’t slow down Greg Foster and the California Sea-Kings Saturday night.

Foster scored 35 points, along with 13 assists and 5 rebounds in the 121-105 victory.

“Greg Foster is just an incredible basketball player and he controls both sides of the game,” Capitals head coach Brian Stevens said. “The first half he really just ate us up. He scored at will. We were doubling him, helping in the paint when he drove, then he pulled out and made jumpers. He hasn’t done that all season. Credit to him, he spent the two weeks off working on his jumper, he just said, and he hit it.”

With Foster controlling the tempo, the Sea-Kings were able to get out and run, to the tune of 34 fast break points. They were up 18 at halftime, and 19 in the third quarter.

The Sea-Kings looked to run on misses and made shots from the Capitals, a strategy that Stevens said put their biggest offensive weapon, center Vincent Boumann, at a disadvantage.

“Vince is unique, he’s 6 foot 10, 280,” Stevens said. “It’s hard to stop him in the post, there isn’t anyone else in our league that can. But at the same time, it’s hard for a big body to get back on defense against a bunch of thoroughbreds. Multiple times after made shots they got out and got dunks, and that should never happen.”

Boumann was able to get his on the offensive end, scoring 29. But the Sea-Kings length and athleticism didn’t make it easy for him, as he shot 50% from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.

“I definitely had to work extra hard and stay focused,” Boumann said. “It’s hard when you got guys hanging on your back, and all my shots were contested.”

The Capitals were able to storm back late in the third, closing out the final three minutes of the quarter with a 14-4 run and cutting the deficit down to eight.

The run continued into the fourth, tying the game at 95 with a little more than seven minutes to play.

“We were scrappy, we were small,” Stevens said. “Their size wasn’t finishing. We were getting tips. And then, Foster came back in the game, and he just controlled it from there.”

The Sea-Kings closed out the game with a 26-10 run.

Saturday was the second time this season the Capitals have lost to the Sea-Kings. Both teams now sit tied on the top of the West at 11-3.

This was the second loss in as many nights for the Capitals, as well. They lost 115-112 to the Vancouver Volcanoes on Friday.

“These aren’t hiccups,” Stevens said. “This has been building up the last six games before this. Here we are at eight games now, and now we’ve lost these two. Those previous six games our defense started falling off. Our help-side’s not what it was during the first eight games of the season.”

Stevens said they have and will continue to focus on these things in practice. But as the coach, he puts 100% of the responsibility and blame on himself.

But even though they’re still tied for first, Stevens knows they have to be looking ahead.

“We can’t hand another game to a team next week,” Stevens said. “We’ve got to take these next two and solidify our spot at the top.”

Despite the two losses and recent defensive troubles, confidence is still high with the Capitals.

Point guard Montigo Alford sees it as just a way to prove the quality level of this team.

“Every good team’s got to go through something,” Alford said. “Now we’re sitting at 11-3, we’re a great team still. We just have to tighten up and become more sharp as a unit. That’s it, once we do that, as a group it stays tight and we keep our chemistry, we only beat ourselves.”