By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– The mantra has been ‘0-0 +2’ for the Sheridan Boys Basketball Team this season under Steven Grauer. Every day is 0-0 and the challenge is to take two steps ahead.
And boy, the Spartans have taken it to heart this season starting off 3-0 entering their game with Neah-Kah-Nie.
But the Pirates gave them their toughest challenge of the year. Their height, their physicality helped turned a 36-30 third quarter deficit in an already back-and-forth war for the win into a fourth quarter 43-42 lead.
And though Neah-Kah-Nie was riding an 13-6 advantage entering the final eight minutes, that mantra, that motto rang true like the Rocky Fight Music as Balboa picks himself up off the canvas for one more round.
4-0, it’s something strange when you mentioned it with Sherdian. It took them until their tenth game of the year to get their fourth win last season, but their fourth win was right there in front of them. They just got to focus on these final eight minutes and go ‘1-0’ on the day.
“It’s nothing like us as a class has ever been apart of before, it’s not very likely at Sherdian that happens. It’s pretty cool, new coaches, stuff like that gets us going,” said Joey Daniel. “Our coach says, “zero and zero. Every game is a new game, try to go 1-0 on the day. Plus-two in everything, that’s what we go by.”
Daniel would score the first eight points of the fourth quarter that included two three-pointers that handed the Spartans a 50-43 lead, Chris Savoldi stole the ball and laid it in to make it 52-43 with 5:07 remaining in the game.
The Pirates wouldn’t go out that easily, they sailed back into the game with a 7-0 run before DJ Arthur snapped the run to push the lead to 54-50.
“We’ve been in a situation like this before, I mean this year with our first three games have been…I won’t say easy, but we haven’t had a challenge like this like with these guys,” said Savoldi, who had 26 points in the game. “They got height across the board and coach has been preaching that we want to go 1-0 everyday. We don’t think about yesterday’s game or think about tomorrow’s, we’re in the moment focusing on the competition and giving it our all.
“And I think a lot of these players are seeing the chance in our program. It started with football and it kind of translated into basketball now.”
Savoldi took a hard collision on the court and looked dazed laying at the free throw line by the Sheridan bench with 3:46 left in the game. As he was being helped someone said by the Spartan’s bench, ‘We need to step up’.
And they did, Jacob DeBoff stole the ball on the next defensive play and put Sheridan back up six with 3:21 left.
Savoldi walked over to the athletic trainer and asked if his nose was broken, he’s good and was cleared to return. He re-entered the game and got the Spartans up eight on the first offensive possession he was in with 1:58 left in the game.
Daniel put Sheridan up 10 with back-to-back free throws that all but sealed the game with 55 seconds left, but Savoldi and DeBoff help extend the lead before the final buzzer rang on the 66-51 win.
“Confidence is key right? You got to come out with confidence and if you don’t, you’re probably not going to play good,” said Daniel on the fourth quarter. “So if you miss a couple at first, you come out and keep shooting, do what we do and 4-0 baby.”
Daniel scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter alone to help spark the Spartans as they now turn now to the Coquille Winterlake Classic where they’ll open up versus the host Red Devils at 6:30pm.
“It says that we can be down in a game and still be able to comeback and fight back, not every game is going to be a blowout,” said Savoldi. “There’s going to be games where we won’t go 1-0 on the day, but going into Coquille in two days why travel that far to lose? We’re going to go out there and we’re going to win, that’s the goal.
“Yeah taking that we came back in this game and actually be able to work together.”
DeBoff added another seven points in the win.