By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It is always a challenge when you are playing with a short bench.
Playing with six girls this weekend for the Chemeketa Holiday Tournament, the Storm tipped off against Treasure Valley looking for their third-straight win after wins against the Simpson University JV squad and Shoreline Community College.
And after the first quarter of their final game in their marathon of games, Chemeketa found themselves down six against thr Chukars 20-14.
But fatigue sank in during the second quarter of having one sub on their bench, and very similar to when the two teams first met November 17 in that Treasure Valley used the second ten minutes to separate themselves from the Storm that saw the Chukars push their lead to 40-21 in Monday’s match-up.
“We’ve had six people the last two weekends,” said Leva Mike. “I think we need to get out of our own heads, we actually outscored them in the fourth quarter by seven points. We ended up pulling together, which is pretty good for us.”
The McKay-grad and Chemeketa freshman finished with a team-high six assist to go with her nine points. Stayton-grad Alexa Bender and Pendleton-grad Kalan McGlothan stepped up as the Storm suffered another injury that left them to the five girls on the court as they closed out non-league play entering the New Year.
“It’s definitely has been a challenge, but I think we’re coming together very well. We’re messing very well, which is really well. We all get along super well,” said Bender. “That’s always good, but yeah it’s hard and it keep getting harder every tournament.”
Bender and McGlothan each contributed 15 points and seven rebounds in the game while combining for seven steals as Chemeketa got to within 13 points of Treasure Valley in the fourth quarter after being down 58-35 entering the final frame. The Chukars won the game 71-55 in both teams final 2019 contest as the Storm entering NWAC South region play January 8 when Linn-Benton comes to town.
The nine-days off will give Chemeketa an opportunity to heal up yes, but it also prepares two new girls on the squad to fill in and add some more depth to the bench when they tip-off against the 11-2 Roadrunners.
“The next practices we really got to take that time to heal the players we need and we have two more players coming in. So we just really need to show them the ropes and what to do and just keep doing our thing and I think we’ll be just fine,” said Bender.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald