By Jeremy McDonald
NEWBERG, Ore.– Ben Brown and his crew don’t hide away from competition, iron sharpens iron right?
Saturday afternoon’s game versus 6As Southridge was no difference, Brown even said their up there as one of the best in the State of Oregon when it comes to girls basketball.
It took the Lady Crusaders sometime to match the Skyhawks intensity, but when they did, they matched blow-by-blow with Southridge as they got it the score deficit to 11 points several times in the second half in the 53-39 game against the intense perimeter pressure, inside pressure that gave Salem Academy an opportunity to work on their press break and get better as a team.
“I told them, I said, ‘that game could’ve been a 40-point loss if we would’ve gave in after they got up by like 18, 20′, but I said they kept fighting and it paid off,” said Ben Brown. “I mean, they didn’t give up, I said every time they make a bucket, I want you guys to get the ball in-bounds and then attack them’, you can’t show, ‘oh no they hit a another three or stopping our runs, but that’s how you learn to get better.
“That’s how get back off the floor when you get knocked down and the girls did great getting on the floor with them.”
The athletes for the Lady Crusaders, though knowing they are good themselves in 3A, know that playing a premier talent like Southridge will help better them for the Dayton’s, the Amity’s and the Blanchets come winter with the experience of playing to team’s like the Skyhawks level.
“We know they are good and we have to bring our best to the game to try to make it a good game and if we play our best and we’ll get better,” said Eva Hardy. “And they’re good competition so it’ll just make us better just like playing them, and it’s also fun to play them because they’re harder to play again.”37
For Sydney Brown, one of the tallest girls in 3A, she faced post taller than her at about six-three to six-five and were just as if not more physical than her Saturday against the Lady Skyhawks.
“There’s not a lot of six-five girls in 3A so I guess that’ll help when it comes to season-play especially in the postseason because I’m pretty tall for our division 3A anyways, it’s just good to get to face good competition and seeing where you are at and see how hard we can play together as a team,” said Brown.
“It’s really cool to play in these tournaments, like all these hard teams in the 6A’s because you get to test your abilities.”
With Springfield Sunday at 4:15pm at Tualatin High School, Salem Academy will have another opportunity to get better against another play-off caliber team this time from 5A.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald