By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The West Salem Girls Basketball team found a groove in the second half. Finishing their final half of preseason basketball on a high-note in their 57-44 win over South Eugene.
It was a snowball effect really. The Titans were holding onto a 23-19 lead, it was made into a one-possession game pretty quickly a few moments later thanks to a Axe three-pointer. Lizzy Bennett had scored all six of the third quarter points as the West Salem junior finished with 18 points in the win.
But all of the sudden, the corner three in front of their bench became their favorite shot that South Eugene couldn’t stop.
“It was so empowering, we really picked it up in the half-court. We were seeing the ball go into the net for the first time in a while and it felt good,” smiled Olivia Garland. “Our press was working and it felt really empowering to be as a team with everything going right. It was great.”
The Titans hit five three-pointers in the third quarter in part of a 27-7 quarter that turned a 17-15 deficit into a 42-24 lead going into the fourth quarter. Garland and Mya Adams each hit two threes in the quarter with Garland’s nine points coming off three-pointers in the second half.
West Salem hit eight threes in the game, Mady Diaz hitting the lone one in the first half with her and Garland each making three three-pointers in the game to help spark the offense.
The win put an end to a tough preseason that saw the Titans go 3-7. But with Mountain Valley Conference play starting Tuesday against McKay, the win was a really nice way to put an end to non-league and go into the league season with some confidence.
“This is great. We’ve had a tough preseason, played really, really tough teams in preseason and stuff. But this is the great way to go into the season, I feel like we’re ready for our league and ready to take it on,” Garland said.
“It was much needed. We’ve played really hard teams and to get a win before league, just to bring our spirits back up. Play our game and get out of our heads, it was important for us,” “Once our pressure started hitting, we were getting steals and more buckets. The intensity and having confidence really helped us get the win,” adds Bennett.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald