By Jeremy McDonald
TUALATIN, Ore.– After going 2-0 the first day of the George Fox University Tournament, the Lady Crusaders of Salem Academy went hard to the wall against the 6A Defending Champions in Southridge but would end the second day of the tournament without a win following a pair of losses Saturday.
On Sunday, the Crusaders found their groove once more, not wanting to end their tournament this way on a losing streak down 9-6 to Springfield, they responded the way they know they can:
With hard work.
Sydney Brown put Salem Academy ahead 10-9 before the Lady Millers took one last lead before the Lady Crusaders put the game to rest by taking the contest 49-38 to finish the tournament 3-2 with the other two wins being against Central Catholtic and Herminston, both of the latter did pretty well after losing to the Lady Crusaders Day one.
“I’m really proud of the team, I thought we did really well, we didn’t give up and we gave it our all every game,” said Koehnke. “I thought we all kept the same mentality , we all wanted to win and we all wanted to put everything into every game.”
For Koehnke, adjusting to such a tight-knit family like with that at Salem Academy with girls playing together for years, it’s a hard thing to do.
But she’s adjusting well.
“It’s been a really easy transition because the girls are so nice, they’re welcoming,” said Koehnke said of the team around her.
Aimee Smith, one of the captains from this past seasons squad likes how fast she’s blending in with the team during this transitional period as they all go through the Summer Basketball Gauntlet together.
“I think she’s fitting in really well, she’s only had two practices before playing in any of these games and she’s pretty much knows all of our plays and getting along with us and I’ve played against her in competitive and she’s really going to be a good player,” said Smith of Koehnke.
With Koehnke taking the point guard spot from Smith, shifting Smith to another spot on the floor with Brown down in the trenches just adds that extra faucet in the game for the Lady Crusaders.
And with the confidence built from this tournament with the Country Christian Tournament coming up next and though their record wouldn’t reflect how they went out and performed in each of their five games this weekend in Yamhill and Clackamas Counties and proving that the fact they were ‘3A’ was just a number on a sheet of paper.
“One of the main lessons is to not to give up because we are the only 3A team pretty much here and so we’re kind of looked down upon but we like to come out and play our hardest and rebound, and even though we’re the biggest team, we’ll definitely come out here and give it our all.” said Smith. “I think we’ve done really well in this tournament, we lost yesterday we lost two games but we played really hard, we played really close.
“We played the 6A State Champions and we only lost by 13 which they were beating teams here by like 45 and 50 so I think even though we’re like lower, I think we’ve proved to people that we can play at their level.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald