By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– After a long day of games at the Yoda MLK High School Showcase at Corban University, the nightcap game between Blanchet Catholic and Amity seem fitting to close out the showcase.
For those who may or may not remember, these two team’s met in the consolation semi-finals of the 3A playoffs in Coos Bay back in March that saw the Warriors put an end to the Cavaliers season en route to a sixth-place finish last season.
Fast forward to January 15, Amity’s looking to put an end to their recent struggles after starting the season so well while Blanchet is on another crash course to Coos Bay once again.
For the first three quarters, it was everything that last season’s match-up was and then-some, it looked like a straight-up shootout in the Wild West with each side having an answer to the other.
“It was real good actually, it was nice seeing us moving the ball a lot better, getting more people involved, playing as a team, putting up a good game,” said Amity Warrior Tyler Parr who had 10 points in the game. “Finishing a lot of our shots. We got it to the post which was nice, we haven’t been doing that a lot, usually it seems like we get down, we try to shoot a lot from outside and going away from the post instead of slowing down and keep playing our game.
“I feel like we did that for most of the night and it seem to pay off.”
In each of the previous quarters, the Warriors hit some shot, in some form, to squeak out ahead a point or two entering the next quarter. A Kodiak Yaeger shot in the first, Parr’s shot in the second and with a shot that made it 45-43 with some time left in the third, it seemed like it was going to be third-times-the-charm right? Something had to give in this game and someone had to make that one run.
That run, came by the way of the Cavs as around this time around they hit a shot to tie it and the ensuring next few defensive stops sparked a 9-0 run to close out the third quarter with them leading 52-47 as that run was the first true run of the contest up to that point
“That was the biggest thing, especially with RJ (Veliz),” said Blanchet’s Mike Bashaw. “He was attacking and he dishing good and having good lay-ups and I felt like this mentally close-game, it’s going back and forth and finally we got that extra momentum, we were playing better defense and it helped out a lot.”
Veliz finished with 27 points, 13 assist, and seven rebounds in the contest while Bashaw finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
The Warriors cut it to 52-48 to start the fourth, but Diego Torres drained a three to put Blanchet up 55-48 and kept momentum firmly in the direction of the Cavailers in the fourth quarter as they sealed the 74–65 victory to close out the Yoda MLK HIgh School Showcase.
“They went on their run and I think at that point we just crumbled and we just never fought back and it pretty much defeated us because at that point, it decided the game,” said Kodiak Yeager, who had 14 points in the game, on how that run affected them that closed out the third quarter. “We crumbled and they didn’t, they ended up winning, they ended up fighting harder than us so props to them.”
For Bashaw and company, it was a sweet revenge coming from last year’s heartbreaking loss to the Warriors that ended their season in their opinion prematurely.
“It’s great, coach told us early in the season that we had a one-day set aside for a special non-league game that your going to schedule someone tough so we can get a good look for State,” said Bashaw. “And once he told us we’re playing Amity I was excited because we played them in the second round of State last year and they knocked us out of the tournament and I was just excited to comeback and get another chance to beat them.
“It’s amazing, it’s definitely a sad moment last year losing two-and-out. I’m glad I was only a junior so I could comeback and play them more time.”
As Blanchet now bounce back to the PacWest Conference to face Chemawa Tuesday night, Amity are off to host Taft in hopes to get back on track.
And the potential they saw tonight for the three quarters reminds them of their abilities and it can be a promising sign of them trying to turn their season around.
“It shows us a little bit of our potential, it’s nice to see what level we can play at and we played at it for about three quarters there. We slacked there on D and we slacked on O, we weren’t very discipline so I think we can take away just what we can see as a team: Our potential.
“We still have a lot of room for improvement and we can get a lot better so going onto the second half of the season ready to go.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald