By Jeremy McDonald
LEBANON, Ore.– The Santiam boys basketball team had to dig deep against Clatskanie Friday afternoon at East Linn Christian for the Silver Cross Tournament.
The Wolverines started hot against the Tigers, leading at one point 20-9 before the press of Clatskanie pulled the 3A Coastal Range Conference team up to pair with the 2A Tri-River Conference squad.
With their press on defense and out-rebounding Santiam, all was needed was one last run to decide the difference. And then it came for the Wolverines as they refocused late in the third quarter of their 50-32 as they ended the third quarter on a 5-0 lead to lead 32-27 going into the fourth quarter as they await the winner of East Linn Christian and Portland Christian Saturday for the Boys Championship at 2:30pm
“That’s what we needed, we needed to finish strong. We’re still trying to figure each other out for the most part, it was nice to see how we ended out strongly as well,” Ezra Downey said. “We have to play through the whole game against them. We can’t have a bad first half like we did. We just need to pick up the intensity and move the ball.”
Downey finished with 14 points and Gage Twede contributed another ten for the Wolverine boys.
On the girl’s side, Maddie Forste scored a game-high 16 points and Cassidy Olson had another seven as the Santiam girls advanced to the Silver Cross Tournament Championship Saturday at 1pm following their 37-33 win over Clatskanie.
The two squads were neck-and-neck as it came down to defensive execution for the Wolverines in a one-possession game in the closing minutes. A Kristen Crofoot split at the free throw line in the final minute gave Santiam a cushion amidst the barrage thrown their way by the Tigers.
“We were all very, very nervous and we weren’t sure what was going to happen. We’ve been working our butts off and to be able to come out here and be a pretty decent team showed how much work we’ve put in during practice. It was amazing,” Forste said.
“(Defense) was really big. In previous years we haven’t been able to box out, so to be able to do that in a pressure situation and get those boards that we needed, to shut them down and come out with a win was awesome.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald