A small makeover took place this season for the Mazama boys basketball program.
The team’s second leading scorer from last season, senior Andrew Reynolds, decided to transfer to Henley.
The Vikings have had to find a new identity, along with the graduation of last year’s leading scorer, Trey Lopez.
The new-look Vikings and defending Skyline Conference champions opened their season with a victory Saturday at Valhalla Court against Brookings-Harbor, 61-51.
“(Reynolds) just transferred and is just like any another person and we just move forward,” Mazama senior Javon Hall said. “Of course there were jitters with it being the first game, so we were a little sloppy. We know what we have to do and it does not matter who is scoring.”
Mazama created its separation against the Bruins late in the third quarter when Hall had a layup off a fast break to lead, 37-31 with 51.9 left.
The Vikings earned their first double-digit lead in the early minutes of the fourth quarter when sophomore Cole Brosterhous sent a pass from the wing of the three-point line to Hall in the paint, who drove to the basket and made the game, 44-34.
Mazama did not let the Bruins get within eight points the rest of the matchup.
The Vikings were led by first-year player, senior Jake Healy. Healy led Mazama with 17 points and had eight rebounds.
A standout football player who just came off winning Skyline Defensive Player of the Year, and a state track and field athlete, Healy has spent the last three years on the Vikings wrestling team.
“It is my last hoorah, my last chance to play a team sport. Losing in football, I was not really ready to give up the team thing,” Healy said. “I have a big basketball history and played up until my freshman year. We have everything we need I think.”
Another new face on the team is senior Gordon McCready, who stands 6-foot-9. He is one of Randy Barleen’s tallest players since he has been head coach of the Vikings.
McCready provided a boost off the bench for Mazama with four points and four rebounds, and made life difficult in the post for Bruins players.
It is his first year in the Klamath Basin after his family moved from the Seattle area.
Born with spondylolisthesis (a spinal disorder), McCready was told in the ninth grade to not play basketball. He spent the last two years recovering from back pain and was unable to play.
“They told me I would never play basketball again,” McCready said. “It is good to be big. I am pretty excited. I think we will have a good year. Height is just a family thing.”
Hall added 14 points, two steals and two rebounds.
The keys to the offense have officially been handed to sophomore point guard Steven Luna. Luna became a key part of the team’s rotation late in the regular season last year and into the state semifinals. Luna scored 13 points and had five steals and three assists versus Brookings-Harbor.
Brosterhous added nine Viking points.
Barleen said his team will have a rotation of eight players this year and expects Buddy Zakour to fill his team’s final spot when he recovers from an achilles sprain he suffered during football.
“It is about being the best of us. It is not about the other guys,” Healy said. “If we win or lose, it is just us.”