By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– West Salem didn’t forget what McNary did at their place on January 11.
Since that night’s loss, the Titans have wheeled off five wins in their last six when the two teams met again Wednesday in Keizer in West Salem’s 54-33 win over the Celtics for their sixth win in their last seven.
“We came into that game so slow and not ready to play, so we came into this game not ready to make that same mistake,” said the Titans Maddie Bertsch. “So we’ve been working in practice, watching film, going over things we need to do to come out strong and hit our shots.”
It was 7-1 West Salem after one quarter of play, but after the slow start both teams got it rolling in the second quarter.
The Titans hit on four three-pointers, two from each Bertsch and Kyra Scoggin while McNary’s Leah Doutt scored all of her nine first half points in the second quarter with West Salem leading 23-17 at the halftime intermission.
“We were going into it knowing that they were coming after us after we beat them the first time and I think we weren’t able to capitalize this time. They played really well and we didn’t come to play,” said Doutt, who finished with 11 points.
The Lady Celtics struggled to duplicate their success against the Titans the first time they played nearly a month ago when they were riding a six-game winning streak to start Mountain Valley Conference play. Now they’re trying to find a way to snap out of their three-game skid since South Salem snapped their seven-game winning streak last Thursday
“It’s super important for us because we’ve had goals of winning league this year and it’s going to be hard now but we just got to keep pushing and fighting,” said Doutt. “There’s still a chance.”
McNary’s sitting 6-3 in league now, a game-and-a-half behind South Salem for the conference lead with five games remaining in the regular season as the Titans pushed their lead to 37-25 entering the fourth quarter and keeping momentum fully in their favor.
The race for the MVC Title is still wide open though with the season entering its twilight. West Salem, they’re right there with Bend at 7-2 at a half-game behind of the Saxons as every game becomes just as important as the last one.
“We just got to play our game. Play like we know we can like we did tonight and win out,” said the Titans Olivia Rudolph, who scored eight points in the win.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald