By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—Minus the six first quarter fouls Tuesday night, the opening quarter resembled that of the Salem Academy-style of the past few seasons with aggression and wanting teams to play their game as they open the game with a daunting 16-0 lead entering the second quarter over Creswell at home.
The Bulldogs, who entered the game 5-2 on the season, had seen a fair shot of easy lay-ins go astray that could’ve made the game about a 16-10 game instead of what it was entering the second stanza.
Creswell would win the second quarter, taking the frame 11-10 as the Lady Crusaders missed opportunities as a eerie feeling of Marshfield waved over Salem Academy entering halftime up 26-11.
“We were kind of getting down on ourselves because it felt a lot like Marshfield and so we were getting into this panicked mode and we were like, ‘oh no. We don’t want Marshfield all over again’,” said Grace Brown. “And then we talked about during halftime, ‘ok we got to come to play now and this is our gym. We got to start getting up points now’. Then we started to get back into our good mindsets.”
Brown said too that their Marshfield game on December 1 was an eye opener as this year’s crew of Lady Crusaders try to find their groove together as one in new roles entering this season. Mix in with a little bit with this game Tuesday, it’s just all helping the girls find their rhythm coming off of 10-days rest since their game with the Pirates.
“We did well the first quarter and then it was like setting cruise control and just trying to get out of that part no matter what and keep pushing and don’t let up and stuff. This is a good game for us to keep pushing,” said Chloe Baker on the past two games.
Baker and Brown both combined for 17 of Salem Academy’s 36 total rebounds. Brown had a team-high nine to go with her 20 points, Baker and Jamie Vanderstoel each had eight rebounds in the game. Kirsten Koehnke contributed 18 points as the lone other Crusader to score in double-figures.
The re-calibration of their focus worked as they started the second half as strong as they started the game, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-3 in the third quarter and 26-6 in the second half to help them all but seal the 52-17 win to improve to 2-1 on the season.
But, they’ll be facing another Marshfield-like challenge in Warrenton Thursday as the Lady Warriors sit at 7-0 on the season before traveling to Adair Village to take on Santiam Christian Friday night for their three games this week.
With each game, it’ll get easier as they get their feet underneath them and learn as they really get to kick off the season this week.
“It’s really good to have all these games this week because it’ll get us in shape faster with so many games back-to-back with Thursday/Friday,” starts Baker. “And I think it’ll help with get us into the groove because going off a week of practice, you get really excited for the game like ‘finally a game’. But there’s also so man nerves going into it and getting into the groove of playing in a game is so different from practice, so to have a couple of them in a row will really help.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald