SALEM, Ore.– North Salem has proved so far this year that they can compete during the opening minutes of a game, but then something happens to knock them off the beaten path that allowed the game to slip away from them.
Entering the second half, North Salem were up 24-17 on Crook County and there was some excitement in the lead, bit also to some nerves in what team is coming out of the locker room
“That’s something we’re not used to,” said Jayden Meade on playing with the lead entering the second half and had 17 points in the game. “It’s going to be big because we got to learn to calm it down, run our offense, I think we did good. We swinged it a couple of times, which got us into the flow, got us those easy buckets especially with Braden (Vasquez) with those assist.
“So I think the biggest thing is keeping our cool and make sure we don’t panic and especially when they got to one-point, we started to get nervous and Coach did call that timeout and got us back into the groove.”
The 4A Cowboys (2-9) pushed early in the third quarter as they wanted to go back to Prineville with their third win of the season as they prepare for Sweet Home and The Dalles to close out the preseason as they cut the seven-point deficit to one by the time Vikings Head Coach Cameron McCormick called timeout to recollect his team’s thoughts.
As they were against Dallas last year in Dallas, as they were entering the third quarter versus Springfield the day before, they were in this and it was just a matter of finishing the job; and they found a way to do just that in their 19 point, 62-43 win over Crook County.
“We just had to keep playing our tempo and our pace. I mean it worked in the first-half, in the second half we were actually hitting more shots and our defense was good, we actually had Phao(var Swank) and JD (Drioji),” laughed Vasquez who had another 15 points for the North Salem Vikings squad. “So that was good.
“We just got to keep maintaining our pace from the first half to the second half because we do look good the first 16 minutes, just got to get that second 16 minutes. Yeah if we get down on our turnovers and out fouls, we’ll be in games like today.”
North Salem reduced their turnovers from 10 to six between the first and second halves in the victory Saturday morning at Willamette University to close out the Capital City Classic for the Vikings; the win, was their biggest margin of victory since a 16-point victory over Sprague on February 13, 2015.
The thing is too though, this win is just their third over the past three seasons having beaten St. Helens on December 29, 2015 and Dallas on December 20, 2017 as their previous two wins; so the question now becomes how can North Salem get over the hump and get more than one victory this season?
“We can mirror what we did great today,” said Meade. “We did really good in transition. So just work on transition, our full-court press we did really well so I think if we learn how to keen into those, we’ll be pretty good.”