By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– North Marion’s Payton Meyers has shown some potential and talent during his sophomore season with the Huskies this past Winter.
On a team that went 20-5 overall, reached the 4A Quarterfinals and were close to a Tri-Valley Conference Title. Falling to Gladstone 58-54 in the conference tiebreaker as both the Gladiators and North Marion were in a tie for first-place with identical 9-1 league records. The athletic six-four guard/forward described the experience as a good learning experience as guys like him and Tanner Saucedo take the reins from Sergio Jimenez, the Page and Wierstra Brothers entering hopefully this Spring.
“It was very fun getting that far even though we thought we could’ve gone all the way, it taught me a lot about being on a successful team, on how it starts in practice and the focus always has to be there, and that you can’t take a night off,” said Meyers. “I can help the team by stepping up and being a leader on and off the court and working hard on my game every day.”
Meyers has the ball handling skill, can get to the rim, and is very consistent as a passer to name a few of his attributes, but knows too that he has to improve. Staying in the gym and working on every part of his game.
“I have to step up and be the head voice now. I need to do way more on the court then I did last year on both offense and defense,” said Meyers. “Also not letting my teammates goof off and be sloppy, we have a solid squad coming this next year we just have to put in the work every day and stay focused.”
Over the downtime that the pandemic has provided, Meyers was a part of the Elite 24 AAU Under Armor Circuit Team he was invited to be a part of. Playing in Phoenix, Arizona, St. George and Salt Lake in Utah and Idaho this year alone.
The experience has helped him improve on his game playing against the competition that the travel basketball circuit tends to bring on a regular basis.
“The experience helped me a lot, playing against competition across the whole country,” Meyers starts. “It improved my game by playing against these really good players every game and will help for the season back at home. Staying away from baseball did suck, it is a sport that is super fun and I enjoy it a lot and it for sure made me miss it a lot more.”
Meyers is a first-baseman for the Huskies, playing under longtime Head Coach Randy Brack. North Marion was looking to rebound from their tough first-round defeat to Astoria in a season where they went 23-3 on the year. It was their second straight 20-plus win season when the Coronavirus pandemic struck in March.
Playing from the Brack can be intimating of course, but not a lot of pressure. Just got to have a keen sense of detail to the craft and have fun with it. Joke when you need to joke and be serious when it’s time to get down to business. Meyers is just one of many athletes that have learned under the legendary coach as the Huskie squad hopes to return to the diamond in April with a slightly younger team than the last time they stepped onto the dirt and grass.
“Randy has helped me a lot from when I was super young to now. His attention to detail helped me a lot, I learned pretty much everything from him and put in our heads that you can’t win by yourself, and that you need a team to win which is why for all these years has been successful,” Meyers said. “It’s tough having players like that leave and not getting the chance to play with and It’s very important for us to step up as leaders. We are going to be a very young team with only a few seniors on our team with Evan (Holman) really being the only player that got experience at the varsity level out of us juniors. We all stay connected and work hard getting ready for this next season.”
Basketball is slated to start in May across Oregon as the OSAA tries to give each of the three-sports seasons of Fall, Spring and Winter their own six-week window during the 2020-2021 school year.