STAYTON, Ore.– Aaliyah Fitzke surely found a way to make an impact Wednesday afternoon in the SCTC Tournament versus Tillamook at Stayton High School as the Junior went off for 14 first quarter points to energize North Salem right off the bat.
Dana Romero fed off of it for nine first quarter points, the bench was cheering as the Lady Viks jumped to a 25-4 lead entering the second quarter against the Cheesemakers en route to a 31-11 halftime lead.
“We came out on fire and we really wanted it. Everyone put their full-effort towards it,” said Fitzke who finished with those 14 points in the 48-25 win.
“We were really good as a team, sometimes we don’t really play in team and that’s something that is hard for us, so I really appreciate when we focus in the game and just play as a team,” adds Romero. “We’re used to not being excited so a game like this, this was what I was waiting for so I really like this game.”
The bench saw its fair share of playing time too entering the third quarter, giving the starters like Romero and Fitzke time to recover so when they re-enter the game they’re good to go and trying to work players like Janel Urbina back into the rotation in time for league again entering next week.
“I thought the girls did a extremely well and it’s not often you get to play every single girl, that really never happens in basketball,” said Head Coach Anna Marchbanks. “So to get Janel (Urbina) back into the rotation, today was her first game, I gave her eight-to-ten minutes today. Just getting her back in from the knee surgery and stuff like that, getting her worked back into the rotation.
“And it made it a lot better, it gave the other girls bigger breaks so they won’t be as tired when they came back into the game. They had more energy to play. I thought that was our biggest thing was giving girls breaks so when they get back into the game our starters can have a bigger impact.”
Though they only scored 15 points in the second half against the Cheesemakers, their defense held them to 14 with North Salem subbing in their back-ups at a more healthy clip during the latter 16 minutes of the game.
And with the them facing the winner of host-Stayton-Scio Friday at 6pm, they’ll need to be mindful of the little things as Marchbanks pointed out after the game and try to carry this momentum from Thursday’s game over to Friday night’s game.
“I think the most important thing for us is to focus on the game and focus on what we have to do and what works and to stay as a team. Do defense as a team, do offense as a team. So I think that will be better for us in order to win,” said Romero.
Marchbanks adds too about reminding the girls about the mantra she always say to them as they now await who’s next.
“Like I told the girls is ‘Never settle, never be happy’, like there’s teams that we play all the time that look at us like we look at Tillamook. ‘Oh we’re going to play North Salem today’ and it doesn’t matter what people think, you just got to come out,” starts Marchbanks. “You got to come out fire, you got to play your game and if we stick to our game-plan and I’ll promise you that if we run our game-plan correctly, we’re going to score the ball.
“And one of the most important things for us is getting shots up. I thought we had 60 or 70 shots, so that’s one of the things I’m reiterating, the more shots we get, the higher percentage we get. So getting a lot of shots up, everyone getting into the rotation and just being apart of the team.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald