By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Central fans know of the potential of Elizabeth Chavez and the talent that she has on the basketball court.
The 2019 Panther-grad had two points in the opening half for Linn-Benton in Chemeketa’s stunning win over the Roadrunners 65-60 Wednesday evening at Chemeketa, but in the third quarter of the four quarter feature saw Chavez score 11 of her 18 points as LBCC kept pace with the Storm.
Her 11th point, her 13th in the game at the time, had tie the game at 36-apiece between the two squads on this evening during the third quarter.
“I think it was good to have some kind of offense going through, especially since we’ve had a couple of lapses on defense. But I tried to contribute as much as I can…try to get my teammates involved being a point guard, I love to kick out as much as I can because that’s what a point guard has to do,” said Chavez.
Chemeketa, who enter their first NWAC South Region opener compare to the Roadrunners second, were coming off a nearly two-week lay-off in which they used to heal up having suffered injuries to their line-up during the preseason.
At full strength, the Storm turned a 23-20 halftime deficit into a 50-40 fourth quarter lead.
Dana Romero (North Salem) contributed four points, five assist and three rebounds off the bench coming back from injury. Paige Wombacher (Lebanon, 12 points), Makin Clarke (Ogden, 10 points), Hannah Kerlegan (West Albany, 12 points) and Alexa Bender (Stayton, 17 points) scored in double-figures Wednesday.
It was a sigh of relief said Bender, who collected 13 rebounds as well, as the Storm were down to five girls due to injury in their loss to Treasure Valley on December 30. Chemeketa too had added three girls to their roster as the squad meshes together entering league play.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of everybody else,” smiled Bender. “We’ve been working with them in practice with plays and just working with everything we’re doing. We just need to keep doing that.
“Jordan (Thompson) did really great jumping in there in her first game. So that’s really awesome.”
Thompson played ten minutes, scoring three points and collecting a block.
Linn-Benton charged back, cutting the Storm lead to 58-55 with 1:30 remaining after a Megan Wagner (Newport) three-pointer. Chemeketa (6-7, 1-0 NWAC South) took advantage once more took advantage of the defensive lapse of the Roadrunners, pushing their lead to 63-55 following Romero’s 2-for-2 at the free throw line.
“We really wanted to emphasis on our defense this game. We had our scouting report and our girls really did exactly what we needed to do to pull off this win,” said Bender of the win. “It feels awesome, it just shows that all of our hard work the last week has paid off. We’re finally getting some healthy girls back and it just feels really nice.”
For a team that started 11-2, Linn-Benton (11-4, 0-2) has been faced with some hiccups in their play as they now enter their Wednesday game with the RiverHawks with a two-game skid and some things to work on between now and then.
“Definitely having those defensive lapses that we had, did mess us up,” said Chavez. “Our shooting percentage is just really low right now, so just being able to get into the gym as much as we can. Putting in some shots will help us a lot to create more points out on the court because right now we’re struggling with that.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald