By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– West Salem and Central Girls Basketball kicked off their Capitol City Classic Girls Bracket quarterfinal bout keeping pace with one another as the two squads found themselves tied at 16 early in the second quarter at Corban University.
The Panthers Ashley Barba pointed to their press break and just pushing the ball up court against the Titans that helped pace Central at first in the 68-42 West Salem victory. Citing a slump that had allowed the Titans to finish the half on a 19-6 run to build a 35-22 halftime lead that evolved into a 42-22 lead two minutes into the third quarter.
“Mostly pushing the ball. When we were breaking their press, it was working every time and then when we weren’t it wasn’t clicking. We like to go into this slump, we’re working on changing the slump that we went through in the third quarter, it was really frustrating because we can do way better,” Barba starts. “The main thing is keeping our energy up. So we’re just taking that opportunity with our preseason games. Just pushing the ball and keep focusing on and working as a team.”
For West Salem, it was a matter of cleaning up the little things on defense that led into that rally to separate the two local teams in the CCC Quarterfinals.
“It was our defense in the first half, we had a tough time pressing. We kept letting backdoors go in, we fixed it and that’s what helped us come back,” West Salem’s Emma Zuniga said. “It was definitely an adjustment we had to make. We’re not that good at getting back, but I think we really fixed that in the second half. We just need to keep going forward, especially with our defense. Defense wins games and offense, we’re just distributing the ball.”
Zuniga finished with 13 points for West Salem. Lizzy Bennett led the Titans with 14 and Braeli Martin contributed another 13 in the victory. Barba finished with 11 points, Sadie Wendring added another ten in the defeat as Central plays Putnam Tuesday at 4pm back at Corban University. West Salem plays Oregon City on Tuesday at 7pm, also at Corban University.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald