By Jeremy McDonald
MCMINNVILLE, Ore.– Following Khyler Beach’s wide-eyed lay-up with 57.9 seconds left in the game, McKay found themselves up 75-71 in a closely contested game that saw McMinnville roar to life in the fourth quarter.
Though you saw the Grizzlies Wyatt Smith battle Darrell Woods throughout the game with both teams wanted the win Friday Night at The Furance for the Greater Valley Conference standings; it came down to Aaron Baune of McMinnville to tie the game up at 75 with seven seconds remaining and the Royal Scots with the ball.
Inbounding from underneath the Grizziles basket, Josaiah Castillo received the ball at the perimeter and shot the ball with four seconds remaining.
As it bounced off the rim, Baune hauled down the court as he received the ball in McKay’s key and laid it up as time expired and went in for the 77-75 victory.
Coming out of the locker room, you saw the emotion of McKay on their faces. They fought so hard looking for redemption of their 29-point defeat by McMinnville earlier this season to only have it snatched away from them.
Scots Head Coach Dean Sanderson was proud of his young team however in the close defeat. His message to the team in the locker room was simple.
“I told them I was really proud of them,” Sanderson said. “Anytime you give that kind of effort on the road against a team that beat you by 29 points the first time, you feel great about the effort, terrible about the result.”
McKay tore the game open in the second quarter with some high pace play that had the Grizzlies wheeling in part of a 21-4 run to start the quarter after falling behind 21-18 to start the second quarter.
Woods helped spark the offense as McMinnville couldn’t stop the senior driving to the hoop during that span.
The Griz managed to take advantage of some rebounding as they cut the Scots lead from 39-25, to 40-33 entering the half.
That 6-1 rally turned into a 16-8 advantage by the 4:20 mark of the third frame with the McKay lead now down to four before the Royal Scots offense turned it back on once more.
But Smith would hit a three to cut McKay’s 10-point lead to seven as he began to help his team mount their final rally in the fourth.
“He was tough, we didn’t do a good job of helping from other spots,” said Sanderson on Smith’s performance. “We got into bad positions and we gave up easy shots.”
Smith scored 11 points in the final frame but was matched by the performances of Tristen Wilson and Woods.
Wilson gave the Scots a 73-71 lead with a shot with 1:36 before Beach’s wide-open lay-up that was assisted by Woods off a steal with 57.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Up next for McKay (6-14, 3-9 GVC) is Forest Grove. The Vikings (13-8, 7-6 GVC), found themselves in a dogfight the last time these two teams met and lost to South Salem 65-53 Tuesday night.
Tip off for that match-up is 7:15pm Friday Night at McKay High School.
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!