By Jeremy McDonald
FOREST GROVE, Ore.– Drake Littlegood surely has been a headache this week for the Salem schools.
The six-foot senior win challenged South Salem in a duel with their two guards Tuesday in the Saxons 71-61 win and helped keep the McKay defense on their toes when the three-ball at home Friday night.
“It was challenging, we probably felt a little over-confident with coach telling us that we’re physically better because that was the first-time he’s ever told us that,” starts Andre Tovar. “We just didn’t come prepared, it was like we weren’t ready to play.”
Littlegood cooled off in the second-half, but Forest Grove kept the momentum in their direction leading the Scots by 11 during the middle-part of the third quarter and it looked like it was going to be a easy Viking win and would have been their sixth-straight against McKay dating back to February 13, 2015.
But the Scors needed a spark somehow-someway.
It wasn’t Khyler Beach nor Andre Tovar this night though, but instead Israel Garza who got the hot hand Friday night as the Scots found a new avenue to score:
Going to the hoop.
Its a wee bit taboo that a three first team would do that but thanks to that, McKay forced seven unwanted fouls from Forest Grove to help climb out of the 11 point hole they were in middle of the third and it was slowly paying off as they once held a 71-61 lead late in the game.
“Usually when team’s play man against us, it’s hard to guard against us we’re so fast. It’s so easy for us to get to the rim” described Garza as the senior scored 22 of his 32 points in the second half. “This game was so important for us, I knew we had to come out here and give it our best energy, this is going to determine how we play the rest of our games.”
It was certainly a big game considering they’re hosting Oregon City (3-1) on Tuesday before traveling to Beaverton (3-2) Friday before going to Medford for the Abby’s Holiday Classic after Christmas and not to mention that it’s the first win versus Forest Grove since January 23, 2015 in the 70-56 victory seven meetings ago.
And with them looking to build from this energy and mojo, into those games, it starts with how they ended Friday night’s game on the road.
“We got to have the same energy,” said Garza. “Every game we got to come out strong and not give half-effort you know? We got to start the first-half especially stronger than we did.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald