By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Salem Academy came out with fire and passion Monday afternoon against Corvallis. The Crusaders led the Spartans in Corvallis’ eventual 59-52 Overtime victory 10-4 to start before going down four entering the second quarter.
But even then, Salem Academy kept pace with the Sparts. Keeping them within reach during the Consolation second round, even regaining the lead going to the fourth quarter up 38-37.
“It was very intense. My shots weren’t falling, but we were finding John (Pass), finding open men. Playing great defense, holding them, keeping up with them,” Jackson Oglesby said.
Pass was the unsung hero for the Crusaders. Down the stretch, as it seemed as if Corvallis was going to pull away for good, Pass hit two crucial three-pointers to draw even with the Spartans at 50. Their defense made sure that Corvallis wasn’t going to win it in the buzzer as Salem Academy held a brief lead at the start of the overtime period.
“I was coming off a screen, saw an opening and I took it,” Pass said of the end of regulation.
Pass led the Crusaders with 22 points and Landen Mitchell contributed another 13 while Jackson Oglesby led Salem Academy with 13 rebounds. Chase Brown scored two of his four points in the opening seconds of overtime to give the Crusaders a 52-50 lead.
But it wasn’t meant to be as the little things, the fouls and turnovers, caught up with Salem Academy in the extra four minutes that helped aid Corvallis’ 9-0 run to close out the game.
“Turnovers were frustrating, especially at the very, very end. It’s really tough to turn the ball over, it ruined any chance we had at the win,” Pass said.
“We were playing too forced. We had to slow down and get our minds right, execute good,” adds Oglesby.
And though the Spartans won and would’ve sent Corvallis to a pre-season match-up with Mid-Willamette Conference-foe Crescent Valley, the two MWC teams requested a switch to avoid playing possibly more than needed before playoffs to set-up a Crusader-Raider match-up at 2pm Tuesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald