By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was a quick turnaround in Saturday afternoon’s Western Christian’s 41-33 win over Chemawa Girls basketball with four games left in the regular season.
The Lady Braves Ronticia Martinez drilled a half-court shot to turn a 18-14 deficit into a manageable 18-17 Pioneers lead entering the halftime break. Martinez and Angel Jackson each connected on three-pointers on a 9-1 run to give Chemawa a 23-19 lead over Western Christian.
Annika Hess scored the lone Lady Pios point in the run, but her three-point shot that followed that pulled Western to within one of the Braves in addition to the press defense, helped swing momentum back in favor of the Pioneers.
“It was really nice, it really changed the momentum of the game and it got us energy for us to start scoring and realize that we can beat them,” said Makenna Hopper. “It was really crucial, we couldn’t let them score, we couldn’t let them get the shot off and I thought we did a really good job at stopping their three-point shooters and getting some rebounds at the end.”
Western Christian’s led peaked at 11 before the Braves began to chip away at it behind Yoiwmana Pooyouma’s back-to-back baskets and a Sasha Riddle put-back after rebounding a missed three by Pooyouma entering the final minutes of the game.
With three minutes left in the game, the once 36-25 lead was now down five at 36-31 with momentum in the balance. But Chemawa couldn’t land a clean shot thanks to the strong Pioneer defense to reduce the lead further.
“Loved the intensity, played together. It was hard because the girls kept fouling. It was hard, but they’re a really good team and we tried to stay with them and keep them from scoring,” said Jackson on the second half. “I think we just need to communicate more and play together than against each other.”
Jackson finished with eight points and two three-pointers, Martinez had 11 with three three-pointers for the Lady Braves. Pooyouma finished with four points.
Hess led all scorers with 19 points for Western Christian, Hopper added another nine in the win. With the win too for the Pioneers (5-5) it pulls them closer to Culver (5-4) and Santiam (5-4) in the league standings with four games left in the season.
“It creates the momentum for the other games coming up that are important,” said Hopper of the win.
Western Christian is at Colton Monday while Chemawa travels to Sheridan Monday night. Both games are at 7pm
Photos By Jeremy McDonald