By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—McKay Scored 98 points Wednesday night in their season opening win versus Eagle Point.
No this isn’t a joke nor a typo, the Royal Scots did in fact score 98 points in the 98-77 victory over the Eagles of Southern Oregon.
It took a while for McKay to go off for 33 fourth quarter points however.
After building a 12-0 lead to start and 16-5 shortly after, Eagle Point soared to the challenge with their mirror image of the Scots full court pressure and offensive quickness as they took a 44-42 lead by the halftime break.
Shooting 2-20 in the first half from three-point land with sharp shooters like Josiah Castillo, Khyler Beach and Shaton Daniels was abnormal to say the least.
But, unlike the McKay team of last year there was confidence as they enter the second half as they kept letting those long-range shots go.
“It was a little bit frustrating but not a lot, not too much for us to worry because the system we run that will happen a lot,” said Ryan Bangs. “We can go down but at the same time, with the system, we can switch spots with them,”
“When we run the system, there’s ups-and-downs, but we just tried to play through,” said Castillo.
Bangs was banging against the Eagles big men during the game, battling for rebounds as slowly the boys in green found their groove down a few possessions as Castillo and company on the perimeter found their stroke.
That few possession deficit quickly turned in a four-point lead as the Ukrainian Train that is six-four David Kovalinko connected on a long distance three as time expired to increase it from a then-one point lead.
Four points eventually turned to 15 as the point total entered 80, then 90 points. The crowd was into it, they wanted that Hundo-Burger of 100 points in favor of McKay.
“It was pretty exciting, I think the crowd wanted it,” “Wanted 100 points pretty bad, we tried to give it to them but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
“It was definitely fun,” Bangs added about the crowd. “I could feel the energy every time there was a point made.”
With 2:20 left, they had 94 points and 100 was in reach.
“It was the first time we got close to hundred so, it was exciting,” said Castillo. “It was good.”
Though they would only score four more points, the main part was that they got that elusive first win.
“At least we got the ‘W’, that’s all that matters,” said Pharaoh Williams. Williams scored two points in his debut in a McKay uniform after transferring from North Salem this year.
Castillo had 17 points with five three’s and Bangs had seven in the contest as Daniels led the team with 18 points.
For Head Coach Dean Sanderson, there was some sense of satisfaction seeing how his team has matured since last year.
“The game played out well from my perspective because we want to play a certain way and we want to play that way whether it’s going really well or we’re struggling. And tonight, we were playing at a pace we wanted to, but we shot 2-for-20 from the three-point line in he first half unofficially. I didn’t think they were bad shots, they just didn’t go in.
“I think the same kids from last year would’ve got frustrated, lost confidence and we could’ve lost that game. We would’ve probably lost that game if it played out that way. But I thought we’ve showed some maturity. They kept playing, they’ve kept battling and eventually Eagle Point wore down and they couldn’t keep up with the pace.”
Sanderson knows that this game is great for a program not accustom to winning and knows that this game helped them battle through some adversity as they build for a tough test in South Medford Saturday at North Salem High School as they pan out some rough edges between now and then.
“South Medford for the last 20 years has been a Top 10 team, more often than not and that’s the team that we better be ready to go,” “And we better clean up something’s especially on the defensive end or they’ll take advantage of us.
“But if we have that effort, and we have tomorrow in practice and get ready to play on Saturday; we’re the type of team that it’s hard to prepare for that because we’re the only team that most of these teams are going to play that are going to play that for an entire game. So we’ll take our chances come Saturday but I like where we’re at right now but a lot of room to improve.”
The Panthers open their season at West Salem Friday night before tipping it off versus the Scots at 3pm at North Salem High School.
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