Turning Pain Into Fire: Blanchet Boys Finish Third At State

By Jeremy McDonald


COOS BAY, Ore.– The result from Friday’s lost to De La Salle North Catholic was a painful one to say the least as they were competitive and once held leads of 18-10 and 23-22 at halftime over the Knights before De La Salle pulled away in the fourth for the 47-36 lead.

Entering the game without Feddy Torres, who was out with a seperated shoulder, they talked as a team about coming out strong Saturday in their third-place/fifth-place game versus Santaim Christian.
“Yesterday it hurt, but our coaches in the locker room gave a good speech saying whatever happen in the locker room, cry be angry let it all out,” said Diego Torres. “But once we leave the locker room, when we go out there hold our heads up high and think about the next game and keep feeling ourselves for the seniors.”
Seniors like Steven Copple, Mike Bashaw, Diego’s brother Feddy, etc. they didn’t just want this win for themselves as underclassmen but for them, the seniors.
Some would say Day three is the true test of character.  Some teams battle back after losing Day One, others have to walk into the championship game banged up.  Then there’s that third-fifth game like Blanchet were in, that weird zone of teams down for losing the day before but know too they have another game to play.
And the Cavailers had to show that character with Santiam Christian looking to rebound after their loss to Dayton the game before.
Mike Bashaw looking on as Blanchet battled with Santiam Christian during the first half of Saturday’s game (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)
After being down 16-9 midway through the first half, Blanchet started to climb back into the game as RJ Veliz hit a three before halftime to cut it to 25-23 before hitting a trey to make give the Cavs their first lead at 34-32 late in the third quarter as Mike Bashaw extended the lead to five moments later.
“It just goes to show who we are as a team, we’ve played really close games all year and this was just another one of them,” said Copple.  “I knew we could pull t out and we did it.”
Their lead topped 11 at 44-33 before the Eagles began cutting back into it but weren’t able to get closer than five or six points as Blanchet held off SC 52-45 for third-place.
Veliz, who finished with 26 points, describe his team’s character from that win after what Head Coach Max Goodman and company said the day before.
“I mean our character is one of the best in the State,” said Veliz. “Our coaches told us after the game to keep fighting.  We knew we could have had that game to go play in the State Championship.  Our coaches in the locker room after the game told us to flush it down we have the third place game and it was going be a game and its going to be a trophy that we’re going to remember 30 years from now.
“But we flushed it right after the game we lost and I thought that was a huge part, just looking forward to this game playing loose, having confidence in each other like we’ve had the whole season is the biggest thing.”
Steven Copple waiting back as the senior watches the play in front of him (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)
For Diego Torres, who grabbed six rebounds with two steals with his two points, it was a bitter sweet moment not sharing it with Feddy who was on the bench and not being able to play in his final game.  But he remembered the conversation they all had last night to get to this point of hoisting the third-place trophy.
“Going down, it hurt but they came into our rooms and they wanted to talk to us, we talked about it.  They said, ‘Let’s go out with a bang and go out there and give it our all like we always do,” said Torres.  “Like we did everyday in practice, in film and everytime we stepped on the court.”
After the game, everyone was passing the trophy around with smiles around as Torres was smiling about hold the trophy.
“It feels really good” said Torres with a smile.  “I just feel very confident right now.  I just feel confident with all my brothers and all of them because they all deserve it too, it’s just not me it’s everybody.”
For Copple, who finished his last game with seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals with his two points, this moment is just as special for him too knowing he’s ending his high school career with a win.
“It’s pretty great you know, four-years here at Blanchet and I finally get to finish it off saying I was the third-best team this year, it’s amazing,” Copple said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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