By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– You could tell towards the end of this game, these friends and competitors on the West team were all in for one goal:
Trying to get to 100 points.
With about three minutes left in the game, the West Squad had 88 points on the board and the question became now that they were going to bring home the Championship, how many points that they could put on that scoreboard before the final buzzer went off.
“It was fun, especially at the end when we’re all messing around and trying to get those last three points to make it to 100,” smiled Amity’s Morgan Croxford.
And they were right there too with about a minute left as Cascade’s Halle Wright got it to 94 and WIllamina’s Kylie Anderson nailed a three to bring the West squad to within three of that Hundo-Burger on the scoreboard.
For Wright, she spoke to the athletes on the squad always wanting to challenge themselves and this goal of 100 points at this stage of the game was another way for them to stay in tuned with the game as the South team did whatever they could to prevent the Hundo from happening.
“Oh it was just kind of fun, especially towards the end we all love to challenge ourselves because you know we always like to push ourselves,” said Wright. “So we figured that if we tried going out there and pushing ourselves to getting 100 and reaching that, yeah we fell short at three, but yeah it was fun. We had opportunities at it, but it’s fine.”
With so many streaky guards, you would think it be easy work as they have done all game long.
Wright had a chance as Cougar teammate Kelsey Molan bounced the rebound back out to her before Wright passed it out. Croxford had a chance, no luck as they got the ball back moments later.
Dayton’s Shawnie Spink had two such chances, but no luck as the West team tried for one last crack of the century mark on the scoreboard.
“Oh it was fun, our goal the whole game was to score 100,” smiled the Corban-commit in Spink. “I really enjoyed it.”
The buzzer rang on the game before the accomplishment was to come to frutition, but hey it was a good time with friends and former opponents of the court.
“We just kind of go out there and have fun, we just play our game without any stress and that’s how we won by so much,” laughed and smiled North Marion’s Ally Umbenhower as the West won 97-41 Sunday afternoon at West Salem High School. “It’s a lot of fun playing with all these girls I’ve been competing against my whole life and then playing at this level of competition is also a lot of fun.
“We have a lot of great players on every team in this tournament, so it’s been a lot of fun and I was happy that I was invited.”
And it was just that, fun and games with those you’ve seen your whole live perhaps. For Wright, she posed with a picture with Salem Academy’s Aimee Smith as many of the girls played alongside with longtime friends one last time.
“Oh it’s super fun, especially because everyone coming in knowing everybody, so we just started to have fun right off the bat in practices, giving each other a hard time,” said Wright. “It was kind like we knew each other for years but we just had a fun time this week and this is what it’s all about.”
“So since we’ve all been playing against each other and with each other since fifth-grade, it’s been a really fun getting to play one last-time to play with everyone and getting to share the experience of winning the last championship together,” said Smith. “But it’s a lot of fun getting to be with them, I’m excited because all of them are playing basketball basically so I’m going to see them a lot. I’m going to play against Morgan (Croxford, a Linfield-commit) in season so I’m just super excited for everyone.”
In the crowd, and with Smith is her younger sister Aubrey who will be a freshman this upcoming school year at Salem Academy and is already putting in work with the Lady Crusader Varsity squad by playing a few minutes already in the Summer Basketball season as there’s going to be another Smith wearing number five at SA.
“I want her to be her own player, play strong and do what she does best. I’m really excited to go see her play so I’ll be proud of her no matter what she does,” smiled the older Smith on her sister. “She wants to be my number so I’m pretty happy about that.”