By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—Winter Sports have arrived in Oregon, and while Fall Sports are wrapping up across the State, the McKay Boys Basketball team are back at it on the ‘official’ first start of the basketball season.
When practice started Monday, the gym was filled with kids looking to help the Royal Scots improve upon the foundation they built in 2015/2016.
Though the record said 6-18 overall and 3-13 in the Greater Valley Conference, they took West Salem to Overtime at West, they were one shot away from beating McMinnville on the road and a run away from defeating Forest Grove up in FG not to mention battling South Salem and McNary late in the season.
This is something that has made some of those returners like Khyler Beach, Josiah Castillo, Noah Tavera, Shanton Daniels, etc. hungry as the season starts said Head Coach Dean Sanderson.
“It should be a confidence boost,” said Sanderson. “They know what it takes to win at the 6A level in our league. They were in some big moments last year at the end of games, taking big shots and happen to get big stops.
“So you hope that translates into something positive this year. We’re adding new faces, we got some different guys and we got a couple of weeks to get everyone on the same page to playing together as a team.”124
The first game of the season is November 30 at home versus Eagle Point, and the success from summer league was translating into practice Monday afternoon as kids were working hard and trying to sharpen the edges as the showdown with the Eagles looms.
“It was a good atmosphere, everyone got better this offseason, everyone came in and put in the work,” said Castillo on the offseason. “I think everybody’s ready to win, everyone came out ready to work hard.”
Though a successful first day, McKay knows they are a far ways from that season opener.
“I thought it went good, but none of us are in good shape,” said Beach. “So we just have to work to get into shape and we’ll start looking a lot better.”
Though Eagle Point finished fifth in the 5A Midwestern League, the schedule only gets harder as they host 2016 6A Runner-Up in South Medford that following Saturday for their second game of the season and will be competing in the Abby’s Holiday Classic at North Medford High School again where they finished fourth at last season.
“It should let us know where we’re at,” “South Medford obviously finished second in the State last year. They’re a good team, they’re a top ten team every year. There where we want to get to and so it’ll be a good test, they’re coming up to Salem. There playing West Salem on Friday and us on Saturday.
“So we have an opportunity to play against a really good team early on and that’s always a positive.”
And there’s excitement to face a team like South in preparation for South Salem, West Salem and McNary come league.
“It’s really exciting because we think we can compete with any team in the State right now,” said Beach. “So to go out there and play against the best at the start…it’s going to be really fun.”
For now, it’s all about that preparation for what is to come for the Scots. For full schedule check it out at: http://www.osaa.org/teams/16139
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