By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was one of those games where the well ran dry for one team and filled for the other.
West Salem held roughly an 15-point lead on McNary early in the third quarter before the Celtics had cut it down to four two minutes into the fourth quarter Friday night at West Salem High School.
Jackson Lowery and Justin Scoggins pushed the lead back to five, but following a quick basket and Nate Meithof going 2-for-2, it was a one-point game with 4:35 remaining in the game.
“It’s just kind of undescribable. It was one of those things where we just have to have energy to comeback, have the willingness to comeback and the mindset,” said Kyler Rodriguez. “I thought we had that. I definitely had a couple of seconds on the clock, so I could’ve waited but it felt right and it went in.”
It was stunning for the Titans as Lowery laid in an contest lay-in with two to go in the game to play to push West Salem’s lead to 61-58 to see them go as cold as they were in the field and giving up shots on the defensive side, something that Scoggins touched based on after the game.
“I think it’s just our mentality on defense. It’s not letting teams that are equal, or are less than us, do that to us. I think that was a really simple way to just go about it,” described Scoggins of the situation at hand. “It was how we were thinking about it and we weren’t just going out there to stop their one guy. I thought it was really winnable, I think we got to learn from it.
“Just coming out and be a defensive team. Your going to have off nights on offense, but it’s a choice to come out and come play defense every night and I think that’s where we’re at. Our offense is fine.”
Meithof’s would step back three tied the game under a minute to go at 61. Scoggins answered with a hard drive to the basket to hand the Titans a 63-61 lead with 15.2 left with time being called.
Rodriguez hit the go-ahead three with eight seconds left to give the Celtics a 64-63 lead heading into another timeout with West Salem getting the ball back.
The message was simple, keep Scoggins from scoring.
“Just keep Scoggins from scoring and do whatever we can to not give him the ball because he had at least 20, 25 tonight…we did that. Took him down on the shot, boxed out and got the rebound and that’s game,” said Rodriguez.
They did just that as, with three seconds remaining in the game, Scoggins threw up a three-pointer in front of his bench with the double-team in his face only to see it skim off the basket and rebounded by McNary for the win.
Rodriguez finished with 13 to Meithof’s 34 points for the Celtics. Lowery and Scoggins each finished with 25 points in the for the Titans.