By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– There was something about North Salem Friday night versus their Market Street Rival in McKay in their second meeting of the Greater Valley Conference season.
Besides their physical play and scrapyness that has appear since their first game of the season this year, their was something else: Firey Passion from their seniors and it started with Hunter Sullivan.
His firey passion and leadership North Salem found themselves in an eight-all draw as the Viks looked to continue McKay’s losing streak and get into the GVC win column.
“I just had to, it’s one of the things as a role as a senior that we had to do,” said Sullivan. “We had to come, especially us (seniors), Isaiah, Alex and I, we took it over as vocal leaders of this team, that’s something that we had to do and that what we had to do.
“We’re tired of losing what it comes down to. We’re going to be gritty, we’re going to be tough, we’re going to be in every game for the rest of the season because we’re striving for that win.”
Then, the McKay Royal Scots burst onto the scene like McKay of earlier in the season as they held a 22-9 lead thanks to North’s turnover’s and the three-point ball, but Rene Romero got North back into scoring as 3 got the Vikings to within 9, 22-13 entering the second quarter.
Sullivan cut it to 22-15 to start the second before Andre Tovar put the Scots back up 10 with a three.
But you can tell that Sullivan’s passion is rubbing off on his teammates as they hung around, cutting the Scots lead to single digits as Sullivan got it to 6 with 342 left in 1st half.
Sullivan helped get it to four with under three to go in the half.
Sullivan had to exit the game due to fouls for a bit as Shaton Daniels put Scots up six with 145 to go in the first half.
Romero, who’s been their number two during their hard-fought first half, nails a three to bring the Vikings to within three, bit Josiah Castillo hits two big free throws to put McKay up five with 115 left.
“They responded well, and my team, they followed it, that’s what they’re supposed to do, follow the leader wherever they take them and that’s what they do,” said Sullivan on how Romero and those around them rallied around the leadership of himself and the seniors.
Sullivan scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half.
Tovar put the Scots up seven to start third as Alex Vasquez entered the game for the first time all night and picked up where Sullivan left off for the second half of play as the Scots came out firing themselves.
“We came off some games that we lost, came off a six game losing streak, our energy wasn’t too great at the beginning,” said McKay’s Israel Garza. “After halftime, we were talking to our coaches and players and we were talking, gained a boost and we started to boost our confidence.”
North got it to three, Castillo put them up six as McKay slowly to begin to pull an away up 11 with 1:35 left in the third quarter as they outfought the Vikings for the win.
You could tell the frustration was most definitely was on the faces on North that did not reflect that of the 83-69 final result with the effort they put forward Friday night, but they know all too well that they are stepping into the right direction with the season coming to an end.
“It sucks, it sucks,” said Sullivan. “In the fourth quarter we have 12 fouls and they have one, it sucks. We’re fighting and we get penalized for fighting, but we’ll be at practice Monday, we’ll work hard and be ready to go Tuesday, we’ll be ready to go Friday, we’ll be ready to go Tuesday, be ready to go Friday.”
For the Scots, the win brings an end to a six-game losing streak spanned almost a whole month as their win total of 11 matches that of the win total of the two seasons leading up to this year combined as they keep their playoff hopes alive.
Former Scots Head Coaching Great Jack Martino, who’s an assistant coach on current Head Coach’s Dean Sanderson’s staff this year, expresses his excitement on the win.
“We needed to win, badly needed to win” smiled Martino. “It didn’t always look pretty out there but it didn’t matter, glad to get a ‘W’.”
Daniels mentions that a win like this helps with confidence, but they know they can’t settle for one win with McNary (Tuesday) and Sprague (Friday) upcoming.
“This win definitely gets the confidence up, because of the losing streak, this win helps us get back on track,” said Daniels. “Coming into the next game with the same confidence we had. Just clean up on offense, we had a lot of turnovers tonight. Just fix the mistakes we had, the little mistakes.”
SCOTS- Tovar-23. Beach-16. Castillo-11. Hull-8. Daniels-6. Bangs-6. Garza-5. Tavera-4.
VIKINGS- Sullivan, H-16. Romero-15. Vasquez, A.-14. Meade-6. O’Connell-5. Drioji-5. Vasquez, B.-2. Thomas-2. Hampton-2. Swank-2.
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