By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s been a slow evolution for South Salem’s Maggie Lapray the past three years.
Freshman year, she was on JV. Covid shortened her sophomore year and she finally had a chance to have a full-and-normal season this year as a junior. A junior year that saw her receive second-team All-Mountain Valley Conference as Lapray enters her final Summer Basketball session as a prep athlete.
“It’s a different game. It’s a lot faster pace, people can shoot farther out. But if you just work hard and train, then it’s just fine. Summer ball really helps. Doing workouts by yourself really helps, that’s how I got really good and was able to play at the Varsity-level was being able to find myself and doing stuff like that,” Lapray said.
With how unique her sophomore season was with the restrictions and playing 15 games in six weeks, working on her own was as crucial as the few moments she had on the court with her teammates.
“There wasn’t a lot of time to practice, there wasn’t time to warm-up to the season. So you had to do everything by yourself and that’s what it took to become a Varsity player. Junior season, it was a little bit more chilled because it was an actual season. But getting into the season, there were a lot more practices and games. It was hard, but at the same time it was fun getting back into it,” smiled Lapray.
Lapray knows that now as a senior, one of two with Carley Patersen that were in the gym in Thursday’s Open Gym finale, she needs to step up as a leader entering this year.
She’s seen it from Hilary James her freshman year and the seniors on how to be a leader on the court no matter the situation at hand. From the little things like support to helping them correct any little mistakes they had made to make sure they all are on the same page come crunch time.
“Last season I was a junior so there were other seniors ahead of me, but I need to be a leader on the court no matter what. And with a lot of younger classmates coming up, I have to make sure that I’m a leader and communicate well. Making sure everyone is a part of the team,” Lapray said. “You always want to push your teammates no matter what. Playing against Hilary it was hard, but I wanted to go because that’s how you get better because that’s how you get better.
“So I always try to help as much as I can. If someone’s not doing something the exact way you’re supposed to, going over to them and ‘hey this is how you’re supposed to do it’. Making sure they’re working as hard as they can. Even the simple little drills and making sure they’re pushing themselves. Being a leader and talking to them and encouraging them.”
The Saxons will open their Summer Basketball slate Wednesday with Lebanon. The Varsity plays every Wednesday with Junior Varsity going Tuesday nights For Lapray, going through the Summer Training one last time before Fall Sports begins, she hopes that they’ll grow as a team and while improving herself to help contribute come Winter time.
“It’s really important because we got a lot of players coming up from the JV-level and it’s good to run our plays, mesh well and see who should go where and try to figure out our places for the upcoming season,” Lapray starts. “I just want to grow as an overall player and try to do everything I feel like bringing the ball up is one of my weaknesses. So working on my ball handling and being able to communicate well on offense and on defense because we have a younger team.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald