Rusty Rae/News-Register##
McMinnville guard Spencer Seehawer soars to the hoop during Wednesday s 88-48 Grizzly win over McKay.
Rusty Rae/News-Register## McMinnville guard Spencer Seehawer soars to the hoop during Wednesday's 88-48 Grizzly win over McKay.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##
Grizzly center Zach Donahoo rumbles into the paint for a lay-up.
Rusty Rae/News-Register## Grizzly center Zach Donahoo rumbles into the paint for a lay-up.
By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Grizzlies sweep Franklin, McKay at home tournament

 

Following a pair of wins during this week’s McMinnville Tournament, the Grizzly boys have turned a corner. Currently leading the Class 6A Pacific Conference with a record of six wins and four losses, the non-league schedule has proven Mac isn’t the pushover it has been the past two seasons.

Through 10 games, the Grizzlies have nearly matched the combined win totals (seven) from the 2019 winter and 2020 spring campaigns.

During this week’s two-game slate, the Grizzlies demonstrated their improvement in all areas of the sport. Especially on the defensive end, Mac appears ready to contend with the top-rated teams when conference action starts next month.

“We’ve had a lot of kids do a lot of good things,” Mac head coach Willie Graham noted of the team’s success this week.

When asked about the program’s strong start, Graham credited the personalities of Mac’s players. According to the longtime head coach, the roster features student-athletes who care about one another and are willing to compete with hard work.

“It’s a fun, competitive group of guys,” said Graham. “We have a really great group of guys. They get it. They’re dialed in for all of our games.”

Senior forward Cody Dauterman attributed the program’s improvement to the focus on defending. He noted, “We’ve put in a lot of drills in practice to improve our defense. We’re taking the time and work to get better.”

Mac registered 17 steals during Wednesday’s 88-48 triumph over McKay. Senior guard Spencer Seehawer led the way with four thefts, using his quickness and reach to hound the Royal Scot ball-handlers.

The defensive intensity begins with Seehawer’s example, Graham said. “He’s the glue to our team – when he’s going, it makes a huge difference for us,” he added.

Offensive patience was a theme Wednesday, too. Once Coach Graham called out a play, the Grizzlies executed it. The ball was whipped around the perimeter with veteran poise. Mac consistently searched for the best look, and open shooters benefited from the unselfish passing.

Senior center Zach Donahoo took advantage of the Grizzly passing to score an efficient 16 points on 8-11 from the field. Three Grizzlies joined Donahoo in double-figures, including Braden Woods (13 points, six rebounds, five assists), Dauterman (12 points, two steals) and Owen Wark (12 points, four rebounds, three assists).

Mac easily controlled the pace of play against the winless Royal Scots. The home team outscored McKay 22-7 in the opening quarter and led 43-20 at halftime. The Grizzlies increased their lead to 70-36 through three quarters before rolling out the reserves halfway through the final period.

During Tuesday’s 64-40 victory over Franklin, Dauterman led all scorers with 19 points and five boards. Seehawer contributed 12 points and seven steals, while Max Saltmarsh added 11 points.

With the quality start to the season, Dauterman feels the team is inching closer to qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2018.

“It would be huge. It’s been a goal for us and we want to get to that point. We’re working hard to get there,” noted Dauterman.

Mac (6-4, 0-0 Pacific) plays at Southridge Tuesday evening at 7.

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