Salem — With their new culture and competitive attitude in place, the McKay Royal Scots entered Friday’s rivalry game with North Salem looking to pounce in the debut of new head coach KJ McCrae. The Vikings had a completely different plan however, one that involved jumping ahead early and never looking back at the Royal Scots, keeping McKay’s losing streak going at 28 straight losses after spoiling the debut of Coach McCrae.
McKay was assessed a pregame technical for dunking in warm-ups, leading North Salem to shoot a pair of free throws to start the game. After making a free throw, this sparked a 14-0 Vikings run to open the match, headlined by five points from Spencer Dorsey-Duquesne and a four point play by Michael Endicott. The Royal Scots finally got on the board with a free throw, but North Salem kept chugging along and lead 23-5 after one quarter.
Plagued by fouls on both sides, the second quarter featured a lot of stop-go action and constant stops in play. In turn, this compressed the scoring but gave McKay an opportunity to try and get back in it. The Royal Scots scored the only field goal in the second quarter by either team, as the squads combined for 33 free throws in that frame alone, and McKay ended up outscoring North Salem 12-10 but the Vikings still lead 33-17 at the half. Jason Carter-Varay lead all scorers with seven points at the half for the Vikings, as Cole Casmay led McKay with five points at halftime.
In the third, the game returned to its fast break heavy play, with both teams running up and down the floor like a Kentucky-style team. McKay’s turnover struggles returned in the quarter, as the Vikings outscored McKay 12-5 in the lowest scoring quarter yet with both teams struggling to buy simple buckets, and North Salem led 45-22 after three quarters.
With a push in the fourth quarter, the Royal Scots played with great energy and tempo, maintaining Coach McCrae’s competitiveness pillar in his first match. The result was McKay outscoring North Salem in the fourth, but foul trouble plagued the Royal Scots and bailed out the Vikings offensively, as McKay outscored North Salem 16-13 but fell handily 58-38. Eskinson Atarino and Jason Carter-Varay led all scorers with nine points each, McKay’s Cole Casmay and Malachi Sterling led the Royal Scots with eight points apiece.
Starting the season 2-0, North Salem Coach Lane McLeod is off to his best start as a second year head coach. With a pair of wins to kick off the season, Coach McLeod talked about his 2-0 start, sustaining team success,
Coach McLeod on the 2-0 start: “We were at Springfield on Wednesday, had only one day of practice in between, and I’m really impressed with how the kids came out. McKay is a rivalry, North and McKay really get up, go at it, and get going for each other. It was a really fun game, a great way to end it, a lot of positives to start the season but still have some kinks to work out. The kids are working hard and battling hard, its a great group of players we have this season.”
Coach McLeod on keys to sustained success: “The guys effort. Getting the ball up the floor, pushing it, attacking the rim, and they’re putting the effort in at practice for sure. They’re listening, they apply what we say, and we’ve got a really great coaching staff. They really take the pressure off of me, its only my second year as a head coach, and last year was a whirlwind with Coach McCormick getting a great offer from Willamette and the job opening so late. Coming in late last year was stressful but a lot of fun, and this staff takes so much pressure of me.”
Coach McLeod on North’s biggest weaknesses: “Rebounding is the big one for us. The rebounding wasn’t terrible tonight, I think it was pretty close to even, but we aren’t blocking out. We’re a small team, DJ is like 6’2″ or 6’3″ and we’ve got a couple of other 6’1″/6’2″ guys, so we’re small but fast. We’ve got to be getting bodies into teams because West Albany is a big team, Silverton has a couple of big boys, Lebanon and Central have big boys, and that’s going to be big for us. In order to have good transition, we’ve got to get that rebound and go off and running.”
North Salem (2-0) visits Crook County next Friday, McKay (0-1) is at Springfield on Tuesday.