By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Santiam had their biggest task to close out the Green Bracket at the New Year’s Invitational at Salem Academy against the full-court press defense and uptempo offense of De La Salle North Catholic Saturday afternoon.
By halftime it was 14-9 Wolverines and they built a 22-12 lead out of the halftime gate by working around the press and feeding McKenzie Dodge in the trenches, but that’s when the Knights press began to work against Santiam.
In a hurry turnovers and the up-tempo offense of De La Salle North Catholic turned the deficit into a 13-2 run to take a 25-24 lead before Dodge had a backdoor pass to hand the Wolverines a 26-25 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“I think when we play an aggressive team, it’s hard because they’re rough and we get a little scared,” said Jasymn Clark. “I think we wouldn’t going to accept a loss, so we had to push through and be aggressive, or be as aggressive as they were.”
For a program on the climb, having gone 1-23 in 2014-2015, their ninth win Saturday is slowing getting confidence back into the program as they sit 9-3 on the season.
“With that mindset it really motivates us and it gives us a start to the game because it’s a lot of motivation. When we have that mindset, it just really helps us push through the whole game,” said Clark.
The Wolverines found ways to keep battling with the Knights as it became crunch time
Clark went 1-for-2 and Dodge had the putback after Clark missed the back-end of a double bonus. Clark fouled out after going after the ball that allowed De La Salle to get to within three, 37-34.
But clutch pressure free throws by Brittany Grenbemer and Cami Duncan helped ice the 39-34 win Saturday with Gervais coming to town Monday.
“De La Salle is a great team, and one thing about them is that they’re really scrappy. So we had to come in with that mindset that we knew who their shooter were and what we had to do to deny in there and seeing what was going on in there,” said Grenbemer as they tip off against the Cougars at 5:30pm. “They’re a scrappy ball club and that’s one of those things that we had to match their level.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald