By Jeremy McDonald
SILVERTON, Ore.– Silverton had to wait a few extra minutes to start their 2019-2020 campaign as their JV team went to double overtime against Churchill Wednesday night at home. And though they had a slow half to their season opener, the Foxes pulled away in the second half for the 59-38 victory over the Lancers to start the season on the right note.
“We were all very nervous to start and then watch the JV game go double overtime, our nerves were working,” said Riley Traeger. “We were in the locker room before the game like, ‘this is a warm-up. This is preseason. We just got to do our best and do what we can to do and play our part and that’s what we did.”
Churchill’s offense would go after Riley Traeger and Truitt Reilly in the post with cut-, slash-, and drives only to be met by the two six-footers and an collapsing defense around them. A Tiara Bolden three-pointer early on in the first quarter was the lone points by the Lancers in the first 6:32 in the game.
Slowly however, Churchill’s Danika Starr showcased why she was one of 5A’s best as a freshman last season eventually sparking the Lancers to tie the game up at 11 and brought Churchill to within one of Silverton with 2:25 left in the half.
The once 11-7 first quarter lead was to 18-17 for the Foxes as Starr finished with 17 points in the game. Slowing Starr down was their main focus, especially in the second half nursing a 25-17 halftime lead on the Lancers.
“It was really important for us, (Starr) was definitely on our scouting report,” said Reilly. “Me helping, Ellie (Schmitz) our point guard on her getting double coverage and try to stop that as much as we can.
“Defense is what we pride mostly. For me to was good to see us execute and play good defense first game of the season.”
Starr had seven of her 17 points in the second quarter and the sophomore had two three-pointers in the game.
For what it was worth, the Reilly and Traeger duo could prove clutch not just defensively, but offensively as well as part of a three-headed monster this season.
“We had each other last year, but this year is just so crucial because I’m leaving next year and Chole O’Connor, our other six-foot post, we’re going to be gone this year and I think we’re going to try to put in as much as we can,” said Traeger. “Practicing against Truitt is the best practice player I can play against. She’s one of the best I’ve ever going to guard and luckily I only have to guard her in practice.
O’Connor recorded three points offensively Wednesday, but Traeger (15) and Reilly (23) contributed on the offensive side of the ball and fed off their defense during the second half.
Their eight-point lead grew to 13 by the end of the third quarter, 38-25 before reaching 20-points by late in the game as the Foxes travel across the Interstate Bridge Friday to play Camas in Washington.
“We did really good passing today. We broke through in passing, we don’t normally see our post as much,” said Traeger. “But having me and Truitt down there this year, I think we’re going to look for us more. We put in some new plays, but we didn’t bring them out tonight. I think those are going to help us this year and perfecting what we already have.”