By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Gervais just flipped a switch about mid-third quarter against Salem Academy in their 59-52 victory over the Crusaders Monday night.
Aly Herber had helped set the tone in the third quarter, helping Salem Academy build a 38-32 lead. Scoring six of her 17 points in the third quarter.
“We were ready to go but our offense and defense led to several turnovers, we got ourselves into a little bit of a hole,” Herber said. “We got to come out against Sheridan and Kennedy so we can take second in the league then we’ll be set and be ready to go.”
It was the Cougars Senior Night. Sitting 6-0 entering the night and were looking down the barrel of a possible Crusader dagger down six in the early going of the second-half.
For the five Seniors, they’ve hung around Salem Academy when both teams were in the PacWest Conference, but have never gotten over the hump. Gervais pulled back within one after an Isabelle Contreras lay-in with 1:57 left in the quarter. Slowly building momentum for the battle ahead.
“Getting all of our starters back in and getting our heads back to where they were supposed to be. We know how to play, so once we got our heads put where they needed to be and then we were ‘ok we can do this’ and executing,” Katie Hanson said.
The Cougs would take a brief 46-42 lead a minute into the fourth quarter before a Bailey Pedersen three-pointer and Herber lay-in.
Gervais challenged the Crusaders in the second half. Going after fouls and connecting on their free throws as Katie Hanson tied the game back up at 47 with a split at the line.
The Cougars were 9-for-12 in the fourth quarter and 14-23 in the game as Lilly Welburn, Celi Vasquez and Contreras hit on free throws late. Ensuring that Salem Academy wasn’t going to spoil their Senior Night. Sealing the win as they finish the regular season with Colton and Western Christian.
“It reminds us how to finish games. These are the games that we have to finish against one’s that we’re up 20-or-something, it can get a little sloppy and we have no consequences. We have to dig down and be disciplined and finish these kinds of games,” adds Hanson.
Joe High School. North Marion High School’s baseball team had that saying ‘it’s Joe High School’ they’re playing today a few years ago. Meaning that it doesn’t matter who they’re playing, just go out and play. Gervais has a similar mindset of ‘ok we won. Onto the next one’ as they remain ahead in the league standings coming down the stretch.
“We’ve lost all of those years, we’re over it,” Lilly Welburn said “It’s just what we do. We’re supposed to win, then if you don’t win and you’re upset. But once you win it’s ‘ok, we took care of business. It’s your job.’. It’s not ‘oh we won.’ Naw it’s ‘you won? Good job. Now let’s go to another team’.”
Hanson finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Welburn and Herber each finished with 17 points each in the game. Annabelle Brawley recorded a 14-point, four-rebound performance for the Crusaders and Celi Vasquez had three blocks to go with 11 points and four rebounds for Gervais.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald