By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For the first-time in his High School career nearly a year ago, Salem Academy’s Benett Bos got to experience something he was a fan for as an eighth-grader:
The dream destination for 3A teams playing at Marshfield and North Bend High Schools for the 3A State Championship. Bos was at the game in 2016-2017 that featured the Crusaders using a rare five-point play to edge future PacWest Conference foe Amity 62-61 for fourth-place in the classification.
Salem Academy, like many other schools, bring their own flair stemming back from their campus in northeast Salem with the eerie ‘Salem’-chants when the game is drawing to a close. It’s organized chaos was the best way Bos described it as Salem Academy finished fourth this past season. Bringing a close to their first trip to the Oregon Coast since the 2016-2017 season.
“It’s awesome feeding on their energy is a huge advantage… the student section really showed up in Coos Bay,” Bos described.
Looking back the past three years, Bos reflected on going from a freshman that came in not knowing what to expect. The Crusaders were coming off of their second-trip to Coos Bay in three years as he started off playing down low in the post before expanding his game out to the perimeter by his junior year.
And he came in ten pounds too heavy, bulking up in the weight room more than he wanted entering his Junior season at 205 pounds instead of the goal weight of 195. But nonetheless Bos, along with Austin Miller, Luke Miller and company, went 21-6. Bos got to showcase his talent in the process and brought some attention over to him as an overall basketball player.
“My junior year I really got to expand my game and make plays for my teammates. I love passing and moving the ball around along with being able to play on the perimeter more this last season was huge it gave our opponents a lot of problems,” said Bos. “Usually because the other teams big would guard me and I could either go around him or if he was sagging off I could knock down the three.
“It is cool it’s nice to know your opponent respects you and is scheming to try and take you out of the game. It also takes a little getting used to. You have to pick your spots and when you should try to score and be able to recognize when someone else had a mismatch. You have to swallow your pride and defer and trust your teammates to make the right plays. Staying humble is huge for me. I just want to win if that means I don’t score but grab 10 rebounds and guard one of their main scores that’s what I’ll do.”
Just as the excitement of taking down 2018-, and 2019 3A State Champions in De La Salle North Catholic for fourth-place, the pandemic arrived a few days later. Changing plans for the then soon-to-be-Senior entering his final year with Salem Academy.
So during the quarantine, he got the diet right, worked on his body mechanics and learned how his body works that has helped him out in terms of athleticism. Once things started opening up, Bos went to Idaho three times and Phoenix once to see where he was at in terms of his craft.
“I was more explosive, quicker and moved my feet better on defense. Right (now) I’m still trying to become more explosive and a better athlete and increase my strength,” said Bos. “I’ll never take this game for granted again to miss out on an entire Spring season (AAU) has really helped me appreciate this game and everything that comes with it.”
And hopes are there that they’ll get another crack at it together. This time in the 2A classification, dropping down to 3A, but the Tri-River Conference is as tough as the 3A PacWest Conference. Trading out the Yamhill-Carlton’s, Dayton’s and Amity’s with the Mt. Angel’s Kennedy, Mill City’s Santiam and 2A Juggernaut Western Christian down the road in West Salem. Hungry to prove themselves and get at it.
“For us as a group we are really hungry and excited to get back on the court hopefully soon. We believed we should have won state last year and even though we lost our seniors the returners and I carried that chip off we should have won last year and fell short and that’s on us so our goal this year is to bring home the state championship,” said Bos. “Just like last year, the league will have some tough opponents that we will have to prepare for but we are excited.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald