By Jeremy McDonald
FOREST GROVE, Ore.– Besides the adversity of what the Forest Grove Men’s Basketball team presented, the McKay Men also fought through the adversity of 26 fouls and 12 turnovers to find themselves down nine with four minutes to go without big man Tristen Wilson.
Josiah Castillo hits a three-pointer that was followed by a Viking lay-up. Castillo hit another three and the Royal Scots found themselves down six with 3:25 to go in the game.
But, Forest Grove ballooned their lead to 12, only to see Darrell Woods, Khyler Beach and Demeris Bailey all combine to cut the deficit to six with 27.1 seconds remaining in the game.
Following a out-of-bounds play by the Viks that gave McKay the ball, a scuffle for a loose ball and two fouls against the Scots allowed Kyle Thompson to ice the 90-80 victory with four-straight free throws.
Castillo described the fight as something like they’re supposed to do.
“We just kept fighting and battling like we’re supposed to and when you do those type of things, things just come together,” he said. “It was good.”
For Joey Hangs, one of many of the young players who saw action late in the game because of foul trouble; called the late push down 15 as ‘The Next Man Up’-philosophy.
“It’s tough when you have Tristen, one of our best players on the bench,” said Hangs. “He gives us a lot, but other guys have to be ready. Down 15, we don’t quit, we don’t ever quit. We got to keep fighting and I think we did that.”
From the get go, the game was a true example of battling through adversity. From an early 14-3 deficit, McKay got it to ten by the start of the second quarter and to seven before fouls became a factor.
But the Scots kept it to nine by the halftime break before being faced with the adversity of turnovers and fouls against them in the third quarter that turned to Forest Grove points.
“I don’t think our guys want to lose, we want to win really bad,” said Hang. “You know, we’re really tired of it. I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.
“We have a game coming up Tuesday and I think we’re going to be ready for it.”
The lead was 15 entering the fourth and was in double-figures when Wilson fouled out.
Wilson, who sat out for most of the fourth quarter, was impressed how his team battled even after he took his seat on the bench.
“We have a team this year that likes to not give up,” said Wilson. “We have a team that will fight until the last whistle and the last buzzer. As sophomores, juniors and seniors (we) are trying to take that mentality of ‘Always going, always going, always going’.
“We’re not going to give up no matter what the score is, or how big the score deficit is.”
For Scots Head Coach Dean Sanderson, whose team is now turning to face the Greater Valley Conference again starting Tuesday with Sprague at home, was impressed with how his team answered the bell.
“We weren’t aggressive at the beginning of the game, but I really liked our fight,” he said. “We had different guys kind of step in and play because of foul trouble. But we expect that, that’s not something that we question, that’s what we have to win.”
Confidence is riding high entering Tuesday’s game versus the Olympians after their big win Tuesday with a last second stop and their ‘Never say Die’-mentality.
Hang points to leadership during the last two games.
“Josiah provided a lot for us, hit a few three’s for us,” he said. “Tristen hit a few clutch free throws for us. Demeris hit some clutch free throws down the stretch. So I think the leadership, guys steeping up has been good for us going into the second half of league.
For Wilson, it’s how they turned that confidence into fight.
“Like I’ve said, we need one game to spark our intensity and spark our motivation,” he said. “I think tonight, we feel confident heading into our next games in league. We had a couple of players fouled out and we lost by 10, so that shows the fight that’s in our players and what they’re willing to do to win.”
McKay will get back to work Monday as they prepare for the Grunge Match versus Sprague Tuesday night at 7pm at home.
SCORE 1 2 3 4 — T
SCOTS 13 15 23 29 — 80
VIKINGS 23 14 26 27 — 90
Top Three Scorers: MCKAY- Woods, D. 23. Castillo, J. 22. Garza, I. 15 FOREST GROVE- Thompson, K 27. Jensen, T. 21. Belsiger K . 15
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!