By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—Graduating no seniors can be a good problem for a squad and the West Salem Girls Basketball team have found themselves in that boat entering the Winter 2021 season.
It challenged their youth and new leaders emerged as the Titans went 8-5 in the six-week season.
“We had to work on getting some more vocal leaders out there, but they’re doing a great job. I think that we didn’t have seniors last year, I think several of them stepped up into that role. And this year, instead of having one-or-two leaders, we have four-or-five,” Head Coach Katie Singleton said.
Singleton points to Lizzy Bennett, Mya Adams stepping up. Baylee Butler stepped as well following her transfer from Sprague. Elizabeth Gile has been a vocal leader as well as Maddie Diaz.
“I can’t just name one, they’ve all done great in all aspects,” Singleton said of the returners.
“We all definitely grew as a team last year. A lot of people leave so we had a young team last year that grew into the team that we have now,” adds Bennett. “We were a lot stronger than we were last year and we’re ready to get started.”
Now it’s just a matter of building from last year’s success. The cross-over games with the 5A Mid-Willamette Conference with games against Corvallis, Silverton and Crescent Valley will help West Salem as they prepare for a preseason stacked with Jesuit, Beaverton and Lakeridge this Winter.
“The schedule was a lot different last year, but we still got to play good teams like Silverton. It’ll definitely help when we play teams like Lakeridge and Jesuit. Learning how to play together and the past mistakes will help,” Bennett said. “We’ll be getting out the mistakes and the nervousness in the preseason. Learning how we’re going to play, we got new players…so just being able to learn as a team and as individual players in the preseason will help when we get to league.”
The Titans open the season December 1 when they host a jamboree. Their first game will be at Jesuit December 3 before hosting Mountainside December 6.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald