SALEM, Ore.– The Gervais Girls Basketball team threw a monkeywrench into the offense of the Salem Academy offense as the Lady Cougars held the Lady Crusaders to a 6-5 score for much of the first quarter.
And though Amiee Smith nailed a three and Sydney Brown added a two, Gervais found themselves within six after one quarter.
“I think we did a good job starting off the game together all on the same page,” said Andrea Villegas who had three points, three rebounds and a steal “We were being aggressive, we knew what they were going to do and what our goals were, we came out really confident coming out with and then lost track of the pressure and they’re a good team.”
From the opening tip, Isabel Vasquez told Villegas to watch for her tip to her as what happened as confidence was there from the get-go.
“I felt really confident that we could do good and that we could’ve had this game,” said Isabel ‘Izzy’ Vasquez, who had four points and four rebounds in the game Thursday.53
That confidence continued into the second quarter as they held Salem Academy to a Smith contested lay-up at the 5:23 mark as the score was 13-5 four minutes into the second quarter.
Aimee Smith hit a 3 and Sydney Brown drained two fts to put SA up 11-5.
Score remained the same until the 523 mark when Smith made a contested lay-up for a 13-5 lead, 1st pts of quarter as Cougs held SA to 13 points through the 1st 4 min of 2nd Q.
But, turnovers hurt Gervais in the closing minutes as they built a 26-5 halftime lead as momentum swung in favor of the Crusaders as they shutout the Lady Cougars to without a score until three minutes into the third from a Fabi Benavides three-pointer as Salem Academy rolled to a 53-13 victory Thursday night.
“I like how the girls came out playing hard, after the quarter break, it was kind of a wake-up,” said Salem Academy Head Coach Ben Brown. “Gervais came out at us strong and they played great defense and we needed to be more patient on offense and not to throw the first easy pass we see and let them rotate and they took advantage of it.
“The girls did a good job slowing it down in their heads and then finding the right pass to make and execute and going up strong and being physical at the bucket was the difference for us offensively there.”
Gervais and the Crusaders both have a few games reminding in the season with the Cougars to Jefferson Saturday and Salem Academy are at Jefferson Tuesday evening and the Lady Crusaders know it starts with Tuesday’s game to finish the season strong.
“Well get back to practice next week and just hit it hard and then the gym,” said Sydney Brown. “Just keep pushing each other, pushing ourselves and get to the highest level of game we can accomplish. That’s our goal.”
Brown finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four blocks Thursday. Smith had 19 points and four rebounds herself in the win.
Playing without two big starters the depth of Gervais was put to the test against a Salem Academy team that was also testing their depth in preparation for the playoffs.
“They rallied around each other, they knew coming into the game that Derrick and Alex weren’t going to be a factor in the play,” “We did get Alex in to test his shoulder, but they rally around the philosphy of, ‘Packing the Paint’, not allowing anything as much as we could and for the most part we did.
“We don’t normally play a zone, we’re more a man defense because we relish on that, but the zone that we play tonight, I think it worked well. It doesn’t hurt to get young players minutes and I think that’s going to help us.”
The Crusaders had the same idea of minutes for their bench during the 83-49 victory over the Cougars as they hope to make a deep run at State this year
“We’re going to need the whole team for this year, coming down to the last run of the game” said Markel Moses, who had three points in the win.. “If we take care of business and finish the game strong, we’re looking at State, making a deep run at the playoffs. We have to get everyone healthy, make sure our bodies are well and strong going into playoffs. We’re hoping for a deep run at State.”