One Final Tune-Up Before Playoffs

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.– There’s no hiding about these two teams and as they both entered Saturday night’s PacWest Conference finale at Sprague High School, it was just a matter of working a few things out.

For Salem Academy, who will open the first-round of the playoffs at home versus Santiam Christian on Friday, it was just trying to knock the cobwebs off before waiting another few days to get back on the court to play.

“It’s nice because going through the whole week…we haven’t played since last Thursday playing up in Colton and just such a long time off was hard,” said Lady Crusader Ben Brown, who the PacWest Conference Coach of the Year award Saturday for the third time. “So the girls, needless to say that they had a lot of anxiety and they just wanted to come out and they just wanted to play hard.

“So we came out liked I hoped we would.  Came out physical, we came out aggressive with intensity in our offense and our defense.  So I’m really thankful with how the girls came out and played and now we have another long week of practice and a game on Friday so hopefully we’ll do the same thing.”

Blanchet Catholic Head Coach Ron Hittner said that yeah it would have been great to win, but there’s really next to no pressure on either team as the Lady Cavaliers host Burns in the first round as they look to try to repeat as State Champions as they got a week to heal up before their next game.

“Yeah I think both of us used it that way, just used it and try different things and seeing what’s working against each other.  But also, just trying to trying to get ready for the State playoffs and trying to get the kids ready and keep them sharp,” said Hittner.  “There’s no pressure on either team today so it’s a different kind of game, so it was a kind of odd game because there’s very little pressure obviously.  You want to win for pride and everything of course, but next week is where the pressure hits so the games are different then.”

In the game, Salem Academy (23-2, 12-0 PacWest) started strong by jumping out to a 9-0 lead as they held the Cavs (19-7, 10-2 PacWest) to 10 first half points en route to a 55-30 victory Saturday night as both teams.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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