By Jeremy Mcdonald
SALEM, Ore.– The second quarter of Salem Academy’s 51-33 win over Kennedy became the dagger that the Crusaders were looking for and was what the Trojans hoped didn’t happen.
Down 9-4 entering the second quarter Salem Academy settled in, created turnovers and worked the inside game against the Kennedy defense. Picking up the intensity during that second quarter that caught the Trojans in a lull to build their 20-12 halftime lead.
Chase Brown saw a lot of action in the post, wheeling off 19 points and grabbing nine boards to help lead the charge during the game as the senior embraced his role in the post as the Crusaders began to wake-up over the final 24 minutes of the game.
“I think that’s the one position that I can play in basketball,” Brown said with a laugh. “I’m not exactly an outside shooter, but when I get in I try to draw the defense in and kick-out for my outside guys to shoot it. That’s where my game is good.
“We didn’t play with as much intensity as we did the game before (against Western Christian) and (Head Coach Ben Brown) was trying to tell us to go for the ball more, go up for the rebounds. Start wanting to score and that was it. Start getting our butts in the paint and score,” Brown added in the intermission talk before the second quarter.
The Trojans came out stronger in the second half, but couldn’t find an answer to slow the Crusaders down as they did in the first quarter. By the quarters end, the Salem Academy lead grew 37-22 by the start of the fourth quarter as they defeated yet another top 2A team to start Tri-River Conference play 6-0.
“We came out passive. I thought in the third quarter we came out more aggressive and we started to see some success,” said Kennedy’s Stephan Salinas. “But moving forward…we talked about practicing harder, so we’re going to get after it these next few weeks for the teams we’re looking for. Our energy all starts with defense. Our defense starts turnovers and we try to push the pace a lot, and that gets our offense going.”
The Trojans play at Culver Saturday while the Crusaders play Santiam Thursday at home. The Wolverines are coming off of a big 42-40 win over Sheridan on Wednesday.
Riley Cantu led Kennedy with 12 points and six rebounds. Salinas and Luke Beyer led the Trojans with three assist each. Sae Academy’s John Pass had a game-high five assist in the win.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald