By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It took a while for the offenses to get going, but once they did, it was electrifying.
Salem Academy would eventually edge Tri-River Conference opposition Western Christian 34-33 on a Dylainee Carmony free throw with 3.3 seconds remaining in the game, but up to that last pair of free throws that Carmony would split, it was all you would hope for in a State Quarterfinal bout.
The Pioneers settled back into the zone they ended their first meeting with the Crusaders with, holding Salem Academy to a four-point first quarter. The Crusaders equally held Western Christian to four points as well entering the second quarter.
Getting a clean shot in general was hard to get. Everyone was on someone; everyone had a body on another person for a rebound or a hand up on a shot as both teams fought for a Semi-Final berth in the 2A double-elimination bracket.
“It was good. I was proud of our post players; they were working hard. We were all good shooters so we just got ourselves open and hit a wide-open shot. Sydney (Fahndrich) especially, she’s a really good shooter so we tried to get her open and get her a good three,” said the Pios Reese Hall. “We realized that yeah, we had a tough game, but I’d rather end our season with a win instead another ‘L’.”
“Oh it was a very slow first quarter. Nothing was going in, it wasn’t going solid. Then once the second quarter came around, we started to get more fluid, started to get more offensive rebounds and get it out,” adds Salem Academy’s Bailey Pedersen.
The Crusaders caught fire in the second quarter with three three-pointers and had led as much as 24-18 before Makennan Hopper hit a crucial three-pointer late in the third quarter to get Salem Academy within three.
Hopper, knee-brace and all, hit deep four-times while scoring 14 points. Only Pedersen had one-more three with five as everyone hit from deep in an attempt to pull the opposing post players out to the perimeter.
Hall and Sydney Fahndrich each had three three-pointers each for the Pios.
Fahndrich hit a three to put Western Christian ahead. Salem Academy answered. Hopper splits at the line. The Crusaders pushed their lead to 33-31 with 34 seconds left. Hall ties the game at 33 with a pair of free throws with 24 seconds remaining.
Then heartbreak happened.
As the Pioneers were fighting for a loose ball with Carmony down in the key, a foul was called that sent the Junior to the line with 3.3 seconds left in the game. She made the first, missed the second and Western Christian’s last second crack at the win with a last second play fell short.
“I don’t know if it was anything special for me, it was a team effort. I had teammates telling me to calm down, obviously it’s super fun and it was super exciting. But it was definitely more of a team-effort thing and that’s how we feel about all of our work, all of our wins, it’s a team-effort,” Carmony said.
Salem Academy plays Kennedy in the semi-final round while Western Christian plays Bandon. Both games are in the Redmond/Sisters-area Friday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald