By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Anything could happen in the playoffs. It’s all about having the hot-hand and momentum to propel you to the next round of it all.
With the game tied at 12 after the opening quarter between Sherwood and West Salem, it was a matter a mellowing out and resetting the mindset in their first-round, 67-41 win, to advance to the Sweet 16 Friday night.
Once they did, that tie seem so distant that it didn’t feel like it was part of the game. By the end of the third quarter the Titans led 53-33 and were riding an 41-21 advantage since the opening eight minutes of the game.
Paige Alexander compared it to the ripple effect of what they did in this game will carry over to Friday’s road game with Sheldon with the hope of a berth to the Chiles Center beyond that for them.
“We needed to kick it up that second quarter because it didn’t affect us now, it affected us later,” said Alexander. “It shows us that when we get a lead, we can keep it. It really assured us that we can keep those leads and we can be comfortable with a lead. Even if it’s not that big.
“As we got more comfortable, we scored a lot more points and we were more in our element.”
Alexander was their spark-plug to get them going again in the second quarter by running the offense, scoring 15 points herself, but Olivia Rudolph from the post led the Titans with 24 points.
West Salem’s defense buzzed around, making shots and rebounds difficult for the Bowmen to bring the Titans back to within reach in the 6A Playoff opener.
And as much as their hot-hand let to their momentum in Tuesday’s game, they’ll need to carry it over to Friday’s game in the hopes that their first-round success is just the start of something special moving forward.
“It’s really about intensity. Our coach just told us that practice are going to be hard, we’re going have to be focused on the little things because every team is going to be wanting to win tomorrow until the Chiles Center. We just got to be intense and just work on those little things,” said Rudolph.
Laney Snelling led Sherwood with 10 points in the Bowmen’s season finale on the road.