By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Best way to describe the Chemeketa Women’s Basketball team this season is their aggression and scrappiness.
They’re not the tallest or biggest team on the court. They played undermanned in their 62-51 win over Clark College Wednesday night in Salem, but they always find a way to keep getting it done. The win is their seventh in their first ten games of the season and second in the NWAC South Region in two league games to this point.
“Working hard and that sometimes out beat the talent of other teams. So we just combine the talent that we do have and working hard, I feel like we work harder than a lot of other teams…When you’re small, you have to have energy” Ellyson Haytas said. “I thought we did pretty well actually (tonight). We slowed it down, played as a team and got our composure back. We locked it down and in the second half we really proved ourselves.”
The Storm struggled to find consistency during the first half of the game, falling behind 25-24 to Clark at the halftime break. The Penguins hit on 5-of-9 first half three-pointers and took advantage of Chemeketa’s sluggish shooting in the opening half despite the Storm causing eight turnovers during the opening 20 minutes.
Haytas, a South Salem-grad, and St. Paul-grad Erin Counts each collected three rebounds in the opening half as they fought through the adversity to pull even with the Penguins going into the fourth quarter tied at 40. The Chemeketa shots were beginning to fall. Counts, Vasquez sisters from Gervais in Celi and Bella sparked the scoring. Counts and Bella Vasquez down in the post, Celi from the perimeter. Turning a once sluggish offense into a steady stream of made shots.
And slowly, the stream became a river as the dam broke in the fourth quarter as Chemeketa turned the tied ballgame into the 11-point margin it became behind the 22-11 fourth quarter advantage to close ot their 11th win of the year and to improve to 2-0 in league play.
“It’s definitely really big. The energy fuels our team and it keeps us going if we’re doing bad or good. The bench brought energy and for each other, ” Counts said. “Playing our game is essential. Playing good defense and keeping the energy. We take advantage of that because what we lack in other stuff we make up in being aggressive and hustling as a team
With Lane Community College up next on Saturday at Chemeketa, playing their game will be crucial in hopes to see what they can do against the 12-0 Titans in their third-game of the NWAC South Region League season.
“Even if shots don’t fall, just continue to get the energy up to need to execute,” Haytas said.
Haytas finished the game with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the win for Chemeketa. Gervais’ Bella Vasquez left the Storm with 13 points while grabbing three rebounds and a block while Counts scored 11 with six rebounds.
Celi Vasquez and Willamette Valley Christian’s Julie Dieker each scored eight points.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald