By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– As Salem Academy went to work the day after their Senior Night win over Jefferson, it’s hard not to think about those three starters from Tuesday’s 65-28 victory over the Lady Lions that picked up their first career Varsity Starts,
As Halle Baker and Lindsey Larsen both picked up starts along the way at the Varsity-level, Kara Standridge, Krista Mulkey and Emma Gould never got their names called out when the starting line-ups were announced or be on the court when the opening tip went up.
That was, until Tuesday night when they all got that honor on Senior Night of all nights.
“It was pretty exciting, it’s really cool,” said Mulkey who’s in her first-full year of Varsity Girls Basketball. “It was really cool especially on Senior Night and such, it made it really good.”
“It was really special,” adds Gould. “With the special group of girls that we have, we’re all so tight and so it was fun to experience that with the other seniors.”
As practice was wrapping up, Head Coach Ben Brown decided to bring the Junior Varsity and the Varsity together for some fun team bonding for one last time before Thursday’s road game at Colton.
Mulkey thought it was weird to think that basketball season is almost over while Gould talked about how fun it was to share the court and play with the JV girls one last time as like a ‘passing of the torch’-scenario.
“It was really fun, it’s pretty weird like we’re going to be leaving and basketball season is wrapping up and stuff so it was really fun,” said Mulkey.
“I mean I can still remember when we played games when I played JV with all the seniors and it’s something that I’m not going to forget because it’s just so much fun to incorporate both teams,” adds Gould. “They have a good group of girls that are fun to play with and be around.”
Chole Baker, the younger sister of senior Halle Baker and plays the majority of her minutes on JV while swinging up to play some Varsity, thinks it’s really helps with building that team camaraderie from the starting line-up on Varsity to the last girl on the bench on JV.
“It’s super fun and I think it’s really good for our program to all be together. It kind of brings the JV girls up with them and play with them and seeing what to look forward to and stuff. And it’s good for the Varsity girls to help the JV girls along,” said Baker. “We’re having so much fun out there.”
For Head Coach Ben Brown, this little strategy kind of spices up practice a bit so that there’s some
“We always try to do things like that throughout the year because you can get that your so separated, Varsity and JV and our numbers are good enough that we have separate practices and so when we come together like this, we want to make sure the younger girls for one get to play with the older girls and learn things from them.
“That senior group is a special group and we want them to rub off as much as possible on the younger girls and just have camaraderie throughout the whole program. So it’s great and all of the coaches have played basketball in the past and so we love playing and the girls love playing with us, so it’s just a lot of fun as a program.”
Speaking of coaches and playing, a few of the coaches stepped in and played with the girls.
There was one moment when Coach Brown was standing behind the top of the key, about three feet back and let it fly and it almost went in Steph Curry-style. But hey, Ben Brown is humble and respects Father Time and will leave it at that one deep three-pointer attempt.
“Oh no, no, no I was shooting with a girls ball,” smiled and laugh Brown. “So it’s just fun. The girls like seeing me trying to make those and they’re laughing at mistakes, but they know what not to do and I show them what not to do.”
But hey, even the best of teams can have some fun out there on the court of play.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald