By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.–You can sense the frustrations with the Stayton Boys Basketball team following their 72-52 loss to North Marion Friday night.
Frustrations in that a great start to the game that saw them up double figures in the first half, squandered by fouls, turnovers and not playing as they did to start the game against the Huskies.
The talk they had was the same as they had following their six-point loss to Yamhill-Carlton Tuesday of being complacent when they’ve built a lead only to see it wash away.
“We’ve had the same talk after both games this week, we just kind of get comfortable with the lead and piss it away,” said Senior Cade Nau. “I mean we were up 14 with two minutes left in the second quarter and they cut it down to within one.
“And then we came out flat that third quarter and that’s what killed us.”
Both losses put the Eagles at 3-6 in the Oregon West Conference and in a two-way tie with Newport for fourth with both teams meeting up Tuesday in Stayton.
Ranking-wise, the Eagles sit 18th while the Cubs sit 15th, which would make Tuesday’s game cruical as both teams look to sneak into the Field of 16 after Tuesday.
For Nau and fellow Senior Jacob Classen, the sentiments are the same in that Tuesday is everything right now.
“We have to come into it with the mindset of our last game ever,” said Classen. “Because if we do win, we do get a play-in game, but we can’t think about having two more games, we have to think about having one more game.
“And if we play like that, like we should and leave it all on the court, I think we will be solid.”
And a message both Classen and Nau are trying to leave behind is leading by example as they’ve been doing all year as they’ve been helping develop this young team into experienced studs on the court this season.
“Our focus for me and Jacob is to playing as a team and not focusing so much on people’s egos and who scores the most points or whatever else,” said Nau. “A ‘W’ is a ‘W’ no matter what the score is so that’s what we want to leave them with.”
With Tuesday being Senior Night and no matter the result whatever it may entail when that whistle blows at around 7pm to end the game, these two senior studs will always remember their time in the Stayton uniform.
“It’s been a big part of my life,” said Nau. “I learned a lot through sports and through the coaching staff and I love every, single year of it. This year, despite the record, it’s been one of the greatest basketball season’s I’ve ever had. It’s been great.”
Classen adds that it meant the world to him to have worn the Eagle colors and remembering growing up wanting to be just like these guys at Stayton and now living it is something else.
“It means the world,” add Classen. “Cause growing up I’ve watched these guys play and I’ve said, ‘I want to be like them’ and now I’m finally living it. It’s just really surreal because I take it for granted a little too much because it’s just part of life.
“But I have to accept the fact that this is the only shot I get and Tuesday night is my last game ever and I just can’t believe that it came so fast. It’s amazing, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Classen and Nau will lace it up one last time Tuesday night on their home court as they will lead the Stayton Eagles one last time, perhaps into the promise land of the playoffs.
Tip off is 5:30pm versus Newport.
PHOTOS BY JEREMY MCDONALD