By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For the last time for these 2A through 4A athletes before moving on beyond their High School careers, they get to put on their High School uniforms for the last time before adventuring on their future endeavors.
As the West team, that featured some of the classifications best in 3A’s Sydney Brown, Kalina Rojas and Shawnie Spink along with 4A’s Halle Wright, Ally Umbenhower and Kelsey Molan from the West Region of the Oregon All-Star Series as girls that were playing against each other are now playing with one another. Coached by legendary coaches in Cascade’s Mark Stevens who led the Cougars to a 4A Runner-Up finish and Scott Spink who helped Dayton win the 3A title this past season.
Those few athlete’s names and those two coaches alone would send shivers down opposing team’s spines let lone the depth they have with other names like Morgan Croxford, Aimee Smith, Kylie Anderson and Jaden Moore if this was an actual High School team. Thankfully enough, it’s just what it is being an All-Star game even though their High School team’s were pretty talented in their own right.
“It’s very different because your use to being competition against them and now you’re rooting for them, so it’s really different but we don’t let that get to us and we play as a team,” said Willamina’s Anderson, who went up against Rojas, Spink and Moore at Dayton and Croxford with Amity. “I think we all did really well and did really good. Everyone pitched in and it wasn’t just one person stepped up, it was a whole.”
For some, it’ll be a taste of what college basketball would be like as they tipped off against the East squad that features Madras’ Lynden Harry and Nyssa’s Kierra Hernandez as several of the West girls are going onto the four-year level starting in the Fall.
“Yeah it’s a different perspective. Harder, but you just got to push through it you know?” said Croxford on playing with all the talent on the West squad team. “It’s nice, just being able to play with people who have the same skills as you, have different perspective from you, it’s pretty cool.”
The squad seemingly looked like that of fiction as they mythically pulled away from the East team for the 85-55 as the West squad advance to the 2pm Championship game at West Salem High School Saturday afternoon.
“I think we clicked really good especially only practicing together two times and not having plays or anything,” said Molan, who was sharing the court with fellow teammate in Wright and Oregon West Conference-opponent in Umbenhower from North Marion. “We just know that we’re going to run the floor and we just can run up the floor and just pass it up.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald