By Jeremy McDonald
SALEm, Ore.–All the hard work, all the sacrifice and tears they put into this year, with how this one ended, it’ll last with them forever.
McKay had battled all game, and built a two-possession lead late in the game and mojo of going to the bracket was in the air; to watch it disappear in a matter of minutes as Madison left the Scots stunned by buzzers end 77-74 to end McKays incredible season.
How much this one burns, its hard to describe as you saw the somber and how stoned-face the Scots were walking into the locker room for the last time.
“It hurts, it hurts really bad,” said Josiah Castillo. But it’s a really good step in the right direction for next year for those who are juniors, they get the experience for next year so they could go further next year.”
“It burned a lot because we worked so hard this whole season and the seniors gave it their all and we wanted to keep the season going for them,” said Khyler Beach. “But at the same time it gave us a lot of experience for next year and we’re just going to work in the off-season and keep getting better.”
Experience, something the younger Scots like Khyler Beach, David Kovalinko, Andre Tovar; the list goes on with a McKay team that was building off the mojo that the 6-18 team built a year ago as they look to continue this trajectory into next season.
Maybe even into the Field of 32.
“It does a lot,” said Beach of the experience. “Not one of have been in a High School playoff atmosphere, it’s way different than regular season so now we know what to expect going back next year so now we know how to prepare in the off-season.”
During the game, the Scots battled and forth and never really trailed during the game itself against a Senator team too rebuilding from a fifth-place finish in 5A back in the 2013-2014 season.
Fate would have these two teams who haven’t been to the bracket since 2013-2014 battling for a playoff bracket berth.
But as fate would have it, it wasn’t McKay’s turn as Madison made one last push that put them over the top by the final buzzer as the Madison crew celebrated their accomplishment.
The Scots too are celebrating in a sense however.
This time last year, while a senior player on the Scots team that went 6-18 and was a coach on the McKay team that started 10-3 en route to a 12-13 overall record and a game away from the breaking into the bracket; Tristen Wilson knew that them as seniors helped set the pace and left huge expectations for athletes like Castillo, Noah Tavera, Shaton Daniels and Hayden Hull to fill this year.
“The legacy we left last year was a foundation to start off with,” said Wilson. “I mean we learned from the seniors that taught us and we gave them a little we know. And these seniors just took off with it. I mean they left a great legacy for this junior team and I’m really proud of how far they went, they worked hard all season.
“If I would look at them at the beginning I didn’t think they’ll go as far as they did and I’m super, extremely well of them and I can’t wait to see how this junior class grows from it.”
Now, it was this years senior class in Castillo, Tavera, Daniel and Hull to do the same for Beach, Tovar, Drioji Joel, etc. to fill as seniors themselves next season.
“Always set a good example for them for next year,” said Castillo as him and his team took a few last pictures to savor the season that they had.
A season that probably most didn’t see, or thought but wondered if they could live up to it. But they did.
Behind their hard work and sacrifice, they built from the foundation of 2016 and continued that process into 2017 as they look to continue this trend in 2018.
“Love their toughness and how much they grew,” said Head Coach Dean Sanderson. “Our program is at a great place because of their willingness to work hard.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald