By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–With their 98-83 win Tuesday Night, McKay has done something that hasn’t been done since 2013-2014 when they went 14-12.
Win 12 games.
Combined, that’s more than the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons combined (11 wins combined during that span), but it’s the step in the right direction to what they want to do as their 12th game guarantees McKay at least a .500 season by next Tuesday Night when the season ends.
“It’s a big step in the right direction,” said Josiah Castillo. “From last year to this year, we got twice as many wins as last year, so it’s good.
“It was a huge game for us. We knew that this was a big game to get into playoffs, so we treated it as a must-win game.”
For Head Coach Dean Sanderson, for a while it seemed like they’ve played their best basketball in December; but since their second meeting with McMinnville, it seems like the Scots have turned back into early season form with now a week to prepare for South Salem.
“You want to play your best basketball in February into March,” said Sanderson. “For a while there it seemed like we played our best basketball in December and so, getting this win, we’re going to have a week to prepare for a playoff-like game against South Salem. If we win, there’s no way we’re not going to make it. I don’t know how it’s all going to shake out, but if we win, we’re going to get in because we won tonight.
“It’s going to be another big game and it keeps getting bigger and bigger, tonight was our biggest win of the season. Found a way to win, now South Salem is the biggest game of the season and when your in playoff mode, every game is like that.”
The Saxons got a huge win over McNary Tuesday 81-71 as South has McMinnville in between Tuesday and next Tuesday.
To get that 12th win though, the Scots had four players in double-figures that included Castillo’s team-high 21 points as they used a run to end the fourth-quarter following West Albany’s run to cut it to eight early in the final frame.
“I thought there were times where we were out of control and let them back in the game because of it,” said Sanderson. “But the nice thing is we played so well, so hard that we were up 16, so when they went on their run they cut it to eight instead of taking the lead.
“We let them get to eight and then come down and hit a couple big shots. But it was off of, they weren’t crazy shots, they were just out of our offense and that was really good and we were balanced scoring.”
Their going to be needing that balanced scoring against South next Tuesday as the Saxons are playing better since their first meeting.
Ryan Brown is playing strong, Jaden ‘Skinny’ Nieslen-Skinner is being Skinny, the list goes on. But the only difference for this meeting is Tyler Wadleigh.
The junior missed the first game, but with him and the rest the South Salem lineup, the Saxons have rallied to a now 8-6 Greater Valley Conference record.
“With (Wadleigh), they got two really good guards, a good slashing wing and a post that’s playing better,” said Sanderson. “So we’re going to have our work cut out for us, we got to come in with a good plan and execute that and we play really, really hard.”
Shaton Daniels, the second leading scorer for McKay with 16 points said the same thing as they hope to bring Tuesday’s intensity to next Tuesday.
“Hopefully go out with the same way we played,” said Daniels. “Same style, attacking and hopefully get a win.”
SCOTS SCORERS- Castillo-21. Daniels-16. Garza-13. Beach-11. Hull-9. Joel-4. Bangs-3. Beaty-3. Tavera-2.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!