By Jeremy McDonald
PORTLAND, Ore.– Starting 6-2 on the season is great and all for the West Salem girls basketball team following their 40-33 win over Jesuit for the Lewis Bracket Championship title Sunday night at Grant High School.
But the biggest thing they talk about following the win is their Team Chemistry and how well they are playing together this season, especially after their 56-55 win over Punahou Saturday afternoon.
“This year we’ve been working so well as a team. Our team chemistry is better than ever in my opinion. In my high school career, this is the best working together tea I’ve ever been on,” said Olivia Rudolph of the team. “I’m very proud of every, single one of my teammates. Every single one of them steps up whether you’re on the bench or a starter, everyone is part of the win.
“Everyone takes the same amount of credit because it takes a team to win a tournament.”
Rudolph was named to the tournament team in the Titans 3-0 Holiday Tournament performance this weekend in Portland. The biggest win of the tournament was probably against the Buffanblu’s, a game in which the scrappy Punahou team from Hawaii scrapped and pushed the Titans before West Salem came together as a team to pull out the win.
And as they started the game against the Crusaders leading 13-8 and holding onto a 22-21 lead at the halftime break, the win was a good remainder to them that anything is possible if they work together.
“It was big, really exciting. I think it’s going to set the tone for the season,” said Maddie Alistock of the win Saturday.
West Salem had to adapt and adjust on the fly with their game-plan Sunday against Jesuit. Starting by pacing the Crusaders before slowing it down in the second and third quarters to see if they could answer Jesuits knuckleballs their way with knuckleballs of their own as they began to pull away in the fourth quarter.
“Their defense really threw us off, so I think adapting to that defense and learning and changing what we did really won us the game,” said Alistock. “It really came down to our team chemistry. We’re all really good friends, we’re all really, really positive with each other, so when we all came together as a team it really shows what we can do.”
Alistock finished with eight points with Paige Alexander setting the pace with 17 in the win. Rudolph and Lizzy Bennett each had six points for the Titans.
West Salem travels to David Douglas January 7 before wrapping up the preseason January 10 hosting Tigard.