By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Gretchen Olsen had one of those bounce back games that every athlete wishes to have.
All of her 21 points came from beyond the arch, seven three-pointers, in South Salem’s 69-25 win over McKay Saturday night, and the Junior credits her teammates around her in setting her up for her offensive performance.
“I give credit to all of my teammates, they knew I had a rough couple of games. They were finding me especially our guard Hilary (James), she’s really good finding me,” said Olsen. “It was good getting that confidence back and get the seeing it go in. It felt good.”
Speaking of James, the sophomore guard played beyond her grade-level once more in sparking the Lady Saxons 34-2 run to turn a 15-14 McKay lead into a 48-17 South Salem lead midway through the third quarter.
The Saxons defense, with James’ quickness helped flip that figurative switch that led into South Salem’s offense off of turnovers to spark the run.
“It’s awesome, we talk about how defense…that’s where our fire comes from. So seeing (James) flying around like that after missing a few shots it was awesome,” said Olsen of their sparkplug. “She makes our whole team better, she influences everyone around her. When we see her flying around we’re like, ‘oh let’s go’, it’s all defense so it’s really important to have her on the court.”
The Scots, who held the high-powered offense in the Saxons to 15 points before the switch, saw Anita Lao snap that run with 3:25 left in the third quarter for two of her five points Saturday night.
Lao admits that their effort was there, they seemed as if they ran out of gas against the quick pace of the South Salem offense as they wrap up the first half of Mountain Valley Conference play at Summit on Thursday.
Lao pointed to how they still worked together and not fall for the old McKay trap of hanging their heads when times got tough as they turn their focus to the Storm.
“In the beginning we were battling with them, we were holding head-and-head with them and then in the second half we were starting to get a little tired and they were out-working us,” said Lao. “But we’re still able to keep our heads up and work together as a team and I feel like that really shows how good a team is by still working together and not getting selfish.
“We just got to keep working hard and playing for each other and telling each other what we could improve on and just keeping our heads up and being positive.”
Leva Mike scored a team-high eight points and Diana Cruz added another five for the Lady Scots. James finished with 15 points for the Saxons and Delaney Keith contributed another eight.