By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Working on intensity and working on ball movement and passing pefectly, the Viking Men look to slow down the attack of McNary and West Salem this week.
“We just have to work hard defensively,” said Ethan Yarnell. “Making sure we play a full game so we can keep them from scoring offensively. Offensively, pass the ball around more and take good shots instead of rushing our offense.”
Play a full game has been a hard thing to come by for North Salem this season. They’ll come out strong in the first half, but can’t finish the game due to varies of reasons.
But, said Alex Vasquez, they can overcome those problems if they can stay focus on the task at hand.
“Just stay focus for the whole game,” he said. “A lot of time, towards the end of the third (the) start of the fourth, we’re breaking down a little bit and start turning the ball over. If we just focus, keep playing hard, we’ll be in the whole game.”
For the Viks, they are looking to make a strong push to finish the season strong as the Greater Valley Conference; and that starts with cutting down turnovers entering Tuesday night’s game with the Celtics.
“Just looking off the pass, ball faking,” said Yarnell. “Just making good passes overall so we won’t get turnovers on us. But, just be more strong with the ball mostly.”
The North Salem Men will be traveling to McNary for their 7pm game Tuesday night and will be at home Friday night versus the Titans of West Salem for a 7:15 tip-off.
Working on a dribbling weave around chairs drill during practice Monday night in preparation for this week, the Lady Viks are slowly finding a groove with confidence and attacking the hoop.
“The drill we’re doing today and I always have them go between the legs, behind the back, cross-over and in front, I have them do that because I want them to get comfortable those types of moves,” said North Salem Girls Head Coach Brent Turner. “So that in a game, it’s second nature.”
The last three games, North were on the road against Forest Grove, South Salem and Sprague; but behind the help of three freshman, the Vikings won the second half over the Olympians 14-13 in a 45-15 loss Friday night.
“What happens is, they play better and they get more confident,” said Turner. “The thing about the Sprague game was, what frustrated me in the first half, was individually we were better than them because our girls would blow past them.
“So what we couldn’t do with other teams, we could do with them. But the part that hurt us was, as soon as we got to the basket, we lose the ball.”
Things like dribbling off their foot, bounce off their legs or lose their grip on the ball. But the second half they rallied and scored
“We still blew past them, but we were able to get up and go for our shot,” said Turner. “So if we get four quarters of that, we’ll have a game at least and make it interesting. The biggest thing I got from these girls the last three games is that we’re attacking.”
This week, like their fellow Vikings on the Men’s Basketball side, face two tough challenges with the Celtics and the Titans.
But, Turner is going to give his team a message for this week: What do you got to lose?
“I’m going to tell them, we got nothing to lose. What’s there to lose?” he said. “There are teams that come in here knowing that they’re going to beat us. In there mind, this game, ‘oh this is practice’ check. We got North Salem next. So what do we got to lose?
“What happened if you go down there and do something you don’t normally do? Will it be any different? It could be if you try it. Now let’s go attack on them.”
There first attack will be on McNary Tuesday night at home at 6:45pm before taking on West Salem, who defeated them 84-15 last month, Friday night at NSHS at 5:45pm.
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!