SALEM, Ore.– It was a matter of time before either McKay and North Salem Boys Basketball teams won that elusive first game.
Unfortunately, with both at 0-3 when they met Friday night, it meant that one of the two teams would drop to 0-4 two weeks into the season.
For the Vikings, they couldn’t slow the high-tempo of the Royal Scots, dropping their fourth-straight 75-59 Friday night.
“We were only playing six guys, so they got tired and started not taking care of the ball,” said North Head Coach Jordan Granteo on the second half. “taking care of the ball and redbounding.
As for McKay, after losing a nine-point fourth-quarter lead against Aloha Tuesday, they were happy to get the figuitive monkey off their backs against their cross-town rivial.
Senior Tristen Wilson contributed the win to how the team came together at practice this past week.
“We came together at practice as a team and we contributed as a team,” he said. “Not one person on this team didn’t help us out tonight, everyone contributed equally.
“We hate feeling this losing mentality so we’re going to change it ourselves within our team and I think we did that at practice.
Wilson also added that their whole focus was on North and not thinking of Sprague, not thinking of West Salem or McNary, not even South Salem. There focus was on North.
“Everyone came into the game expecting to play and to come out with a win. We were focused on North, North, North and nothing else. Not next week, not the week after. (We) just focused on North.”
The Scots high temp offense and press cooker of a defense had them up 36-15 in the final three minutes of the opening half.
But then, despite playing short-handed, the half-court play of North Salem kicked in as they limited their turnovers and converted great defense into offense.
Slowly the Viks had ended the half on a 15-5 run as they entered the locker room down by 11.
“We took care of the ball a lot better (and) we played better defense,” said Graneto on the run.”
“We were playing the way we should play,” added North’s Ethan . “We were passing the ball better and we were getting looks down low and that’s why our shots went in.”
For McKay’s Dean Sanderson, it’s all a part of the style of play they run. It’s all about how you deal with the swings.
“Playing that style we’re playing is going to be wild swings like that,” he said. “You got to be able to live with it and some sense and get better with the swings.
“I thought we could’ve done a better job of attacking when things got kind of crazy. (but) then we had seniors who stepped up. As long as we have senior leadership, then we’ll be ok.”
The second half started with a mixture of rebounds, blocks and steals and no scoring until the 537 mark with a short range shot by Izaya Cornado of McKay.
Jordan Sampson of North opened the scoring for the Vikings in the second half.
That hoop opened up an slight point advantage for North as they push the Scots lead into single digits, but five quick points by Khyler Beach expanded the lead back to 10 with 215 left in the third.
Beach would add two free throws, seven straight for the sophomore, before Darell Woods and Wilson broke that trend as McKay sailed to the victory.
“It just gets us more energy and motivation to keep doing what we’re doing and to keep going after it,” said Beach on his contribution.
Now with McKay (1-3, 1-0 Greater Valley Conference), they turn their focus on Sprague (0-3, 0-1 GVC). The Olympians lost to their rival, South Salem, 71-57 Friday night, but the mentality is the same.
Focus on Sprague.
“This win starts us off good, this helps us keep going and going,” said Wilson. “Now our next focus is Sprague, Sprague, Sprague nothing else.
“We don’t care about next week, we don’t care about next game after Sprague, we’re going to focus on Sprague.”
For Yarnell and the Vikings is to practice hard and focus on playing the whole game instead of bits and pieces as they prep for McNary (4-0,1-0)
“Just keep practicing hard,” said Yarnell. “We just have to play the full game instead of the first half and half of the third quarter.
“We’re a strong team, we’ll manage through whatever difficulties we hit. If there’s one thing Coach emphasis’ is adversity and we’re going to face some of that soon.
PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!
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