By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– West Salem had to play it’s best game of the young season in the quarterfinals of the Capitol City Classic Monday night against Silverton.
They had to be disciplined as the Foxes are masters with that. They had to execute offensively in hitting their shots. They did that.
Their defense. Physical, maybe the fouls were an issue but their defense made sure the Foxes were off their game. The Titans succeeded with the overall result a 75-53 stunning win over one of 5A’s premier teams.
“We just had to hit shots. They’re a really good team and we had to make shots to win this game,” Brooks Ferguson said. “They’re a super smart basketball team so we had to help communicate more than usual. I think we did an ok job, they got us at some times. They didn’t shoot as many as they could as usual, so it was a pretty good game.”
Ferguson led the way with 22 points. Trenton Ferguson, Micah O’Connor each scored in double-figures at 14 and 11 points respectively in a game that saw West Salem jump out to a quick 9-0 lead.
Silverton drew them in by quarters end in a then 15-11 game, the Titans leading. West Salem pushed their lead to 25-18, the Foxes once more pulled them in at halftime down 42-32. You could sense Silverton was one run away from making this game super-duper interesting going into the second half.
“We knew they were going to come out swinging and they’re the team that beat us twice last year. We knew we had to stay on point on defense and offense and play a game that we knew we could play,” O’Connor said. “The game plan, we executed it pretty well. We came out hot, we were hitting our shots and moving the ball well. We had a little bit of a struggle getting rebounds and stopping them on defense.
“In the second half we knew they were going to come out and try to come back and we stepped it up on defense and got better.”
The Foxes couldn’t get out of their funk this evening as the Titans pushed their lead to 60-45 after three quarters. Both sides of the ball, it was a struggle in piecing it together with the squad falling into battling for fourth-place as West advances to the tournament’s Semi-finals on Tuesday night.
“Our cornerstone every year is defense and rebounding,” starts Silverton Head Coach Jamie McCarty. “I felt like, in both avenues tonight, we really were not at our best. West is a great team. They’re super-fast, their big’s came to play, their guards can really shoot it and we didn’t really defend well tonight.
“I think tomorrow is going to be super important for us to come out and reestablish what we do well and get back to Silverton basketball.”
Tuesday won’t get any easier for either team. The Foxes have the honor of playing Cane Ridge from Tennessee at 4pm while the Titans play Beaverton in the CCC Semi-finals at 8:30pm. The Beavers edge the Ravens 49-39 thanks to a late game 11-3 run to pull away for the win.
“Both these teams, Beaverton and Cane Ridge will be a challenge for us and that’s what we need right now. I want our kids to be pushed every night and that’s how we get better,” McCarty said. “Even though we took an ‘L’ tonight, we’re going to be better from it in the long run and that’s the goal.”
“They’re two household name teams,” adds O’Connor on Beaverton and Cane Ridge. “That’ll put us in high regard with other teams in the State and get eyes on us that we deserve and worked hard for.”
Silverton’s Neil Efimov had a team-high 19 points while Austin Ratliff contributed another 15 points for the Foxes. Ryan Brown added eight as well in the defeat.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald