By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Give Amity an inch and they’ll take it a mile.
It’s hard to believe at the end of their 54-52 win over Santiam Christian that the Warriors were, at one point, down 18 points early in the third quarter at the Yoda MLK Showcase Monday night at Corban University.
Just like the Eagles were hitting on all cylinders, doing the little things right, Amity did the same.
Shutting down Joe MaQatish and Koby Williamson were no easy task, but MaQatish was held to two points and Willamson to six in the second half with the Warriors getting the score to seven entering the fourth quarter.
“It was a lot of momentum. It felt nice to actually execute stuff. In the first and second quarter we weren’t executing very much, we were sluggish,” said Kennan Graham. “Going into the third, we started to bring it back just a tad and then made a run.
“In the fourth quarter we got into the huddle and we said, ‘We got to make a run. We got to kick it in gear, it’s our time to shine’.”
When Big Blue is on, they make an argument of being right there Day 3 for a State Title. It’s warming up the engine to get to that point is the trick for the squad.
But nonetheless the Eagles lead shrunk as did the time on the game-clock.
Josh Wart’s ‘And-One’ pulled the Warriors to within one, 47-46, before Santiam Christian swung four of the next six points their way to make the Warriors work a little harder with 1:50 remaining in the game.
Graham went 2-for-2 on the line to get Amity back to within one at 51-50, Isaac Watcherson hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 42 seconds remaining and the Warriors up 53-51.
“We knew we had it, we didn’t play that well in the first. We just had to play good defense, lock it up and we got it,” said Watcherson, who’s only points of the game came on the three.
Lock it up they did on defense, only seeing a Levi Villers free throw go down during the final 42 seconds and Wart’s split at the free throw line iced the win 3.5 second remaining.
Wart finished with 24 points, Granham finished with 17 points for Amity. Ben Galceran added 24 for the Eagles Monday as they travel to Creswell Wednesday evening sitting 10-5 overall and 2-1 in Mountain Valley Conference-play.
The Warriors return to PacWest play Tuesday when they host Salem Academy at 7:30pm in a quick turnaround for not just Amity, but for the Crusaders as well following their game versus Cascade Christian earlier in the day Monday.
Both teams will be tired, so Monday night into Tuesday will be crucial for them in preparation for the league game between number two and five in 3A.
“Try to recuperate tonight as much as we can and hit it hard tomorrow,” said Wart. “We’re both banged up, but we got home court advantage so hopefully we’ll get something going.”