By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.- Leading up to the Varsity game Friday night, the Junior Varsity games of McKay Scots and North Salem Vikings were going down on the lower and upper gyms at McKay High School.
Up on the upper gym, the Scots Boys jumped out to a 10-2 lead before the Vikings used a 10-4, end of quarter run to cut an eight-point deficit to four entering the second quarter.
Including in that run, was a buzzer beating shot by North Salem’s Iseyah Steven’s to bring the Viks to within four entering the second quarter.
North was able to hang around, but had trouble overcoming the deficit entering the fourth quarter due in part of turnovers.
“We just dug ourselves a hole and we couldn’t make up,” said North Salem JV Head Coach Kevan Hanson. “It was frustrating to watch what happened in the beginning and since we gave up too big of a lead early, we couldn’t overcome it.”
The Vikings kept fighting however as Stevens and Nicholas Thompson made their free throw shots to keep it to a two-, three-possession but Antonio Eliu of McKay would prove clutch with his free throws to help keep the Vikings at bay for the victory.
“It was a big ‘W’ for us,” said Eliu on the win. “We’ve been having a losing streak lately. It was nice, it was nice.”
North Salem Head Coach Anna Marchbanks knew that McKay would be game-planning for Dana Romero and her talents and knew it’ll come down to who can step up.
Enter Aaliyah Fitzke.
Fitzke was on a whole different level as she nailed four three’s and complied 19 points in the win over McKay Friday night.
“I think we came out firing and that we’re ready to play, we wanted the win and we worked as a team,” said Fitzke.
Marchbanks spoke to the volume of the girls needing to know how to rely on each other as they prepare to make the move to Varsity when the Varsity squad comes back to the school next year and she used Fitzke as an example of trying to enstill this confidence now.
“It take five players out there, it’s a team sport and it’s trying to enstill that confidence in every single girl and step up,” starts Marchbanks. “And that’s what I was focused on (with) Aaliyah Fitzke, ‘you can’t have zero point games and (Romero) have 20 points, you have to score 20 points.
“Just for her to come out, she had 19 points, four three’s. She had a stud game and it goes to her she came out and put us on her back and just the momentum carried us through and for me as a coach to watch them grow and to see them expand and become a better team, it’s an ideal situation espically going into Varsity next year; you want to see growth every, single game so for that, it’s good.”
Cheyenne Allmond agreed with Fitzke that North wanted it more than them Friday, but Allmond knows that they’ll be ready for them come next year.
“It was definitely hard but, but like (Fitzke) said, they did want it more than us,” said the Allmond. “But we’re still coming together as a team and we’ll come together next year and come get them next year. They play like they’re a Varsity team.
“I felt like they wanted it more than us and they did but, we’re going to get them next year.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald