It’s not to often that you get a marquee game like Blanchet Catholic and Valley Catholic in the opening round of a tournament preseason or postseason.
It’s also not too often that two out-of-conference, out-of-classification teams meet more than once either with the Cavaliers taking their first meeting on December 1 49-47.
Like their first meeting, it was close until the Valiants opened a six-point lead and throwing adversity in the direction of Blanchet, something that will help them come league and especially with their aspirations and goals of reaching Coos Bay again come seasons end by going through these tough test and facing tough competition.
“It definitely helped prepared us, a close game like this against a really good team, it’s just preparing us for Coos Bay,” said Veliz. “I mean it’s going to be an environment once we get to State hopefully if we win league and stuff. It’s a big game against a good coached team, the team is well coached. They’re bigger than us, bigger school than us. Either way, win or loss, it was a close game and it was a good experience for us as a whole team to get better and fight through the adversity. We’ll bounce back for sure.”
Veliz and company did fight and eventually tied the game up at 41 with 1:19 left in the game off of Veliz’ ‘And One’ conversion, just three of his 17 points in Wednesday’s game.
On their next defensive possession, the Cavs Diego Torres got a critical contested rebound with 45 seconds left with the game tied at 41 as Blanchet Catholic dribbled up court.
After dwindling the clock a bit trying to save for the last shot, Head Coach Max Goodman called time with 13 seconds left to design a play for the possible game-winner.
When they came out, Veliz got the ball at mid-court and drove up and was met by a Valley Catholic defender at the top of the key and both were battling hard to the free throw-line when the referee’s whistle blew signalling Veliz fouled with four seconds left that set up Valiants ball around mid-court.
With a foul to give, the Cavs hoped to throw a monkey wrench into Valley Catholic’s game-winning plans to force OT, but through the non-shooting foul attempts that Blanchet were doing, sophomore Trey Eberhart denied overtime with a corner three at the buzzer for the 44-41 that handed the Cavailers just their second loss of the 2017-2018 campaign.
“It shows that we have fight, no matter if we’re playing a 6A team or a 1A team, we’re not going to back-down and we’re not going to be scared by anyone,” said Veliz. “Whether we’re down five or 50 we’re not going ot stop fighting no matter what. It shows that we can hang with the best of them, I mean we got them last time.
“This game, if it goes into OT…I like our chances. We started to roll at the end, they hit a streak, we got a streak at the end. All I know is that we’ll bounce back. People now know that we’re not going to back down to anybody and the team’s that we play know that no matter what their rank or how big they are, we can hang with the best of them. I think that’s what we can take out of this game.”
Veliz points to that this game can be the spark they need moving into Day 2 of the SCTC Holiday Classic at Stayton High School as they await the loser of Woodburn-Sweet Home for their 10:30am game Thursday with the hopes to finish the tournament 2-1 and go into league on a streak and with the goals and hopes to go undefeated in PacWest-play entering the postseason this season.
And it all starts 10:30 on Thursday morning at Stayton High School.
In the loss as well, Mike Bashaw had 16 points, Steven Copple added five and Feddy Torres had three.
GIRLS BASKETBALL- BLANCHET 36, YAMHILL-CARLTON 32. In what’s going to be a preview of the new West Valley League in 2018, Yamhill-Carlton jumped atop of the slow start by the Blanchet Cavaliers in the first half before awakening in the second half for their third straight-win and their sixth of the season to start the SCTC Holiday Tournament Wednesday morning.
“Learning point here, the last two games prior to this game we started really well against Creswell and Rainier, got leads early,” said Head Coach Ron Hittner. “It’s just a lot easier to play from ahead than come from behind and expend that energy, so it’s just a learning experience today of we got to come out with more energy tomorrow and either team we play here will come out with good energy so we got to match that.”
In the game they were waiting for, Sweet Home and Woodburn, the Lady Huskies pulled away from the Lady Bulldogs 44-38 as Blanchet (6-3) takes on 4A’s Sweet Home (1-8) at 3pm at Stayton High School in Day 2 of 3 of the SCTC Holiday Tournament.