By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– South Medford. A perennial powerhouse and State Title Contender in the State of Oregon for years that features big name alums like Kyle Singler and EJ Singler to name a few.
Following their loss versus West Salem the night before the Panthers were going to come out firing to come up even on their Salem trip, and McKay knew that entering Saturday afternoon’s showdown.
The Royal Scots weren’t afraid of this team that were 6A State Runner-Ups in 2016, hell they are building and wanting to be where South Medford is as they jumped out to a 17-9 first quarter lead.
The thing is, with the Panthers, you can never count them out, and McKay knew that as South cut that eight point lead to a three-point game at the half, 38-35 in favor of the Scots before the Panthers took the lead in the third.
But, McKay battled and contend with the Senior Heavy South Medford team, staying within a few possessions of the lead entering the fourth down four, this confidence that was building as people from North Salem and West Salem observed the game in front of them.
“It’s better than last year,” said Shaton Daniels on the confidence of this team. “Last year, we probably gave up. So this year, I feel like our confidence is better and the teammates are just trusting each other.”
They would eventually tie the game at 67 with a few minutes to go as both crowds made some noise.
The Scots fans going nuts that they’re team could pick up that early season signature win behind their physical play; the Panthers, to go back to Medford with a win.
McKay saw a few shots just miss the mark as South Medford turned it to a 8-1 run as time ran low; but instead of letting the game get away, they battled back, wanting to battle against one of Oregon’s Traditionally best teams.
Noah Tavera hit two massive three’s to bring them to within three as the Scots aimed to intentionally foul South for an opportunity for the win.
Though the scoreboard didn’t reflect the win, it was a big stepping stone as the team learns what it takes to be one of the best in the State.
Head Coach Dean Sanderson has always been a big component of not looking to the moral victories because he knows that his team is good enough to win some ball games.
“We’re good enough to be a winning team,” said Sanderson. “So we’re not going to take any moral victories and that’s a team that we could’ve definitely beat, it’s frustrating. If we don’t break down defensively a few more times, we’ll find a way to win, so we got to get better at that.”
Beach adds that facing a team like South Medford and what they do to break you down to defeat you, it’s a good measuring stick to see how they can improve on moving forward.
“It shows what we really need to work on defensively and offensively and the little things that we need to do,” added Beach.
TEAMS 1 2 3 4 — T
PANTHERS 9 26 23 20 — 78
SCOTS 17 21 16 20—74
MCKAY SCORERS- Beach-15, Tavera-10, Hull-10, Tovar-9, Castillo-8, Daniels-5, Kovalinko-5, Garza- 4, Bangs-4, Beaty-2, Elisa-2.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald