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Connor Scott, always giving it his all, shined for the Tualatin basketball and baseball teams

by: DAN BROOD - LOVING TUALATIN -- Connor Scott, a 2013 Tualatin High School graduate, says the support he got from teammates, coaches, family and the community of Tualatin were special to him during his time at the school. TUALATIN — It was an emotional year.

It was a trying year.

It was an inspiring year.

It was a special year.

And, maybe most of all, it will be a year that Connor Scott will likely never forget.

Scott, who graduated from Tualatin High School earlier this month, sighed and got a smile on his face as he looked back at his senior year at the school.

“It’s been unbelievable,” he said as he sat in a dugout at the baseball field at the school. “Ever since Dec. 27, when I found out my dad had cancer, that changed everything.”

Connor Scott’s father, Mike Scott, was diagnosed with colon cancer back in late December. Mike Scott is well on his way to recovery now, but the scare — and the reality — had a lasting effect on Connor.

“I took that with me into basketball season,” Connor Scott said. “I just upped everything. News like that lets you know how short life is.”

After that, it was an inspired, motived Scott who took the court and diamond for the Timberwolves.

Scott was a high-scoring wing/post for the up-tempo Tualatin boys basketball team. He was an ace pitcher — a bulldog on the mound — for the Tualatin baseball team that captured the Pacific Conference championship.

Scott also was The Times Athlete of the Year from Tualatin High School. The honor goes to the top senior-class athlete, as seen by The Times, at the school for the 2012-2013 school year.

“I feel very blessed to have had such a good year,” Scott said. “My coaches, teammates and the whole support system meant so much to me. The community support was more than I ever expected. It’s been such a blessing. I’ll always love Tualatin.”

“Connor has an undying will to win,” Tualatin High School baseball coach Adam Strachan said. “He always got the most out of his potential, and he always found ways to get it done.”

Ready to run

Late in the spring of 2012, word was out — the Tualatin High School boys basketball team would be looking to run an up-tempo, run-and-gun style of offense in the 2012-2013 season.

by: DAN BROOD - IN THE PAINT -- Tualatin's Connor Scott looks to move the basketball during the Wolves' game at rival Tigard.“When (Tualatin coach Rick Osborn) first told me, I was shocked,” Scott said. “He came up to me at the end of last spring, and asked me what I thought about it. For him to ask me meant a lot — he’s the best coach I’ve ever had.”

So, the 6-foot-tall Scott, and the rest of the athletic, but undersized, Timberwolves were set to go all out for all 32 minutes every night. But, first, they had to get ready.

“I don’t think we even took a shot that first practice,” Scott said. “We just ran back and forth, the whole court, all practice. All we did was run, but it was worth it. Practices were hell, but they gave us our best chance. In the fourth quarter, when the other team was gasping, we were smiling.”

Tualatin was still adjusting to its new style of play early in the season when, on Dec. 27, Scott was told that his father was diagnosed with colon cancer.

The Timberwolves had a home game against Lakeridge that night.

“I’ll always remember that game,” Scott said. “Before the game, I was still preoccupied, but God was watching over me that day. Prior to that game, my dad wrote me a note. He wanted me to try to provide light for the family and give them a spark.”

Scott went out and scored 32 points that game, making 12 of 21 shots from the field, helping lead the Wolves to a 103-91 victory.

“That was the first time I ever scored like that,” he said. “And I got to share that with my dad after the game and give him a pick-me-up. The team signed a game ball for him. It was all incredible.”

The inspired play, and special moments, continued after that.

Tualatin made the Class 6A state playoffs as the No. 3 team out of the Pacific Conference. The Timberwolves opened postseason play facing a daunting task, as they had to travel to Eugene to face Sheldon, the overall No. 7 seed, in a first-round contest.

With Mike Scott in attendance, Tualatin sprinted to a 92-83 upset victory over the Irish.

“That game was one of the top three sports moments in my sports life,” Connor Scott said with a smile. “Every play was a full-on battle. After the first quarter, they wanted to run with us. We said ‘we’ll show them how to run.’”

Scott again came up big for the Wolves, as he scored a game-high 27 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.

Tualatin saw its season end with a 92-82 loss to hot-shooting Sunset in a state playoff second-round game. But, again, Scott did all he could, scoring a game-high 31 points.

For the season, he earned first-team All-Pacific Conference honors, but that’s not what he says means the most to him.

“That was one of the most fun, close-knit teams I’ve ever been a part of,” Scott said. “It was so fun to be around them. We were one team, one family.”

Diamond time

Following basketball season, Scott went on to play with another tight Tualatin team — the Timberwolf baseball squad.

“I felt so blessed, being a part of two close-knit teams,” he said. “We were inseparable. Everyone had each other’s back. We were all brothers out there.”

by: DAN BROOD - BRINGING THE HEAT -- Tualatin's Connor Scott looks to fire a pitch to the plate during a win over Hillsboro this past season. And, well, Scott may very well played the role of the big brother.

“He was our leader,” Strachan said. “He was an emotional leader, not only on the mound. The guys joked around and called him ‘Captain Connor,’ but it was no joke. He really was our captain.”

The Tualatin squad was loaded with a strong pitching staff, with Scott leading the way.

“We had some really good pitching,” he said. “We felt like we had two or three No. 1 pitchers. We felt confident going into every game.”

Still, when those big games rolled around, make no mistake about it — Connor Scott wanted to be on the mound.

“I loved getting the ball,” the right-hander said with a smile. “Big games were my thing. To be out there, with the ball in my hand, was one of my favorite feelings.”

Scott had a big season for the Wolves, helping lead them to the Pacific Conference championship. He shared the Pacific Conference Pitcher of the Year honors with McMinnville’s Gage Gubrud and he also earned first-team Class 6A All-State honors as a pitcher.

Scott started six games in Pacific Conference play, and he went 6-0 in those contests, throwing six complete games. He allowed only six earned runs in those games while striking out 56 batters and walking only nine.

“He made big strides this year,” Strachan said.

Scott also shined in the outfield for the Wolves, earning second-team all-league honors.

“I think he had the best catch of the season,” Strachan said, talking about a diving catch Scott made during Tualatin’s 2-1, nine-inning win at McMinnville.

There were other special moments for Scott on the baseball diamond.

“I’ll always remember the walk-off win against Tigard,” he said of the league game the Wolves won on a game-winning hit by junior Brandon Shroyer, with darkness closing in. “That game was just so much fun.”

The Wolves’ season ended with a 3-2 loss to Central Catholic in the state playoffs.

“It was a fun game, and I thought we were going to pull it out,” Scott said. “It’s always tough to end the season, but to be part of such a close team, with so many close friends, was so enjoyable.”

by: DAN BROOD - KNOWING THE SCORE -- Connor Scott had a big senior year at Tualatin. The rival Tigers

It’s not a coincidence that the baseball win over rival Tigard sticks in Scott’s memories.

All of the games against the Tigers seem to be something special.

“We’ve learned to respect those guys so much,” he said. “We love to compete against them. They had some really good teams this year.”

During basketball season, the Tigard-Tualatin match-ups packed the gyms.

“We looked forward to it,” Scott said. “There was always so much tension. We knew it could always go either way. They had some really good teams this year.”

Tigard got a sweep over Tualatin in boys basketball play this year. The rival squads split their two baseball games, each team winning in heroic late-inning fashion.

“Both teams give it their all every time,” Scott said.

A lot to cherish

Connor Scott can’t stop talking about all the support he’s received throughout his 18 years living in the area.

And a big part of that support comes from his family — his parents Mike and Sue Scott, and his older sister, Brittany, a Tualatin grad who now attends the University of Oregon.

“They are the backbone of everything,” Connor said. “They’ve always been there. My parents have been to almost every game — that’s unexplainable for how much that means for a kid my age. They’ve always encouraged me and have always given me just the right support.”

And then there’s the group of friends, fellow 2013 Tualatin graduates, Scott has always been around.

“We grew up and played together,” he said. “We might not have had all the success we wanted, but bonding with this group of seniors has been special — I wouldn’t trade it for a state championship.”

And then there’s Tualatin High School.

“We have such a close-knit school,” Scott said. “Everyone is out there at the sports events, theater, choir, everything. High school gave me hope — you learn to cherish that.”

Wolf to Wildcat

Scott will continue his scholastic baseball career at Linfield College in McMinnville.

He’s also thinking about trying out for the Wildcat basketball squad as well.

“I’ll play baseball for sure,” he said. “They’re a big deal now, and to play for Scott Brosius will be fun. It’s going to be fun to go and compete for a spot.”

Well, if the Linfield baseball squad, which recently won the NCAA Division III national championship, needs a pitcher filled with inspiration, determination and a willingness to have the ball in his hand, they very well have found the right guy.

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