By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.— It wasn’t the best start as they hoped for the ninth-ranked Yamhill-Carlton Girls basketball team Monday night against Salem Academy in the Crusaders 52-30 victory at Salem Academy.
But through their slow start, the Tigers did hold a 12-11 lead on Salem Academy following a pair of Jordynn Rivas free throws in the opening 30 seconds of the second quarter.
“I don’t think we had our best start, we’ve definitely had a lot better starts to games and I felt like we started off slow. We missed opportunities that were there to rack up the score and get ahead, but after that we started up our talking and that really helped,” said Rivas.
Yamhill-Carlton shot 23.8-percent from the field in the first half, the Crusaders took advantage of it on the other end of the court with Grace Brown scoring 11 of her 16 points in the opening half to help Salem Academy turn a 13-2 run to take a 24-14 lead entering the halftime break.
There was a weird feeling that reminded them of the second time they played Warrenton pointed Brown as they went into the halftime break.
“We weren’t ourselves. We were playing frantic and we were making bad decisions, so during halftime we were talking about how we need to slow things down. We’re mostly made up of Juniors and Seniors on our team so we have to act like we have to act like we’re the upperclassmen,” laughs Brown, who recorded a 16 point, 10 rebound game. “And so at the beginning of the third quarter we were like, ‘alright we have to get our jobs done’ and it starts with the defense.”
Salem Academy returns two starters from their second-place finishing squad from last season in Brown and Koehnke while the Tigers featured two freshman in their line-up Monday, one of the two replacing the injured Reilly Southard who’s on the mend from an ankle injury suffered over Christmas Break at the Dayton Tournament.
The Crusaders though, continued to suffocate the YC offense to a low-percentage offensively with Koehnke striking with 16 second half points as the Salem Academy senior finished with 22 points in the win.
With two games left, one against their rival in Blanchet Catholic on Wednesday for the Crusaders, it starts with that mindset of getting better every day in practice with the postseason just around the corner.
“Definitely bring that mindset in practice every day. That’s our goal, get better in practice every day,” said Koehnke.
For the Tigers, who host Scio for their Senior Night Wednesday, it’s a similar tune. For a team still in the Top 10 in 3A after reaching the postseason in 4A last year, its all about being more aggressive.
“If we just play basketball because we’re just going through the motions. If we just start playing basketball and just going for it, they’re going to call the fouls for us if we’re more aggressive,” said Rivas, who had five points and five rebounds.
Sadie Horne finished with 11 points and six rebounds for Yamhill-Carlton.