By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– “Six for 18, six for 18,” yells North Salem High School Girls assistant coach Andrew Cantu as he observes the lay-up drill going around him at mid-court.
With their opening game of the 2015 season against South Albany on the road and their home opener against Thurston on Friday, coach Brent Turner describes the process of his Lady Vikings team improved over the last few weeks.
“We’ve put in our offense, the majority of it,” said Turner. “We put in two different, difficult defenses. Both zones. They’re not easy to learn and they aren’t lazy zones.”
Kelsey Blackbird adds on to what Turner said about the offense and the two difficult zone defenses the Vikings will run this season.
“They’ve definitely been a rollercoaster,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot in the past weeks as well as my teammates.
“It brought us together, more understanding when another teammate explains it to us instead of a coach. I feel like we’ve learned a lot the past few weeks.”
The McKay-transfer added that she is just excited to be playing against competition this week instead of beating up teammates.
“I’m excited, I know my teammates are excited as well,” said Blackbird. “It’s definitely going to be a good experience because we are so used to being around our teammates and the people that go to our school.”
Coach Turner’s also excited about his players going up against different opposition and espically since their first game being on the road, his excitement for them increases.
“They’re really excited about going out and facing someone else they don’t know,” Turner said. “Being able to rub elbows with someone you don’t know and having an opportunity to grasp victory from somebody else especially from someone else’s house like we are with South Albany.
Turner described the game plan for the season opener at South Albany Wednesday and their home opener versus Thurston as coming down to three components:
Defense, rebounding and not turning the ball over. Keeping it simple said Turner.
“ Just those three components, I want to keep it simple for them,” he said. “Nothing too big, nothing too complicated. Just, ‘hey let’s play some defense, grab some rebounds and not turn the ball over’.
“If we can do that, it’ll be a good game and we’ll be in it at the end.”
Tip off for the home opener is at 7pm at South Albany High School and their home opener on Friday is slated for 645pm tip-off.
PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!
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