By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–It wasn’t a pretty win, but Western Christian found a way in getting it done to get the win at the end of the day. Defeating Willamette Valley Christian 53-48 in the process as they shook off the cobwebs of not playing in 12 days.
But with the 1A Warriors surging, the defending 2A State Champions stepped down and finished the game strongly. Holding off Willamette Valley Christian’s fourth quarter push to finish the game while knowing they’ll need to play better with the threat of Dayton and Country Christian coming through the other side of the Green Bracket Friday at Salem Academy that the squads were in.
“That’s what we have to do, especially in close games. That game was definitely not what we wanted, it was our first game back in ten/eleven days but that was not a good performance for us. If we’re playing Dayton tomorrow, we need to play at a way higher level and play way better than we did today, but it was good for us to close out the game like that,” Western Christian’s Lucas Zook said.
Zook led Western Christian with 16 points, Caleb Halgren contributed another 13 points. Brian Beyer had 13 points for the Warriors while Willamette Valley Christian was led by a 21-point game by Jake Higgins.
After seeing the Pioneers push their halftime lead from 26-20 to 42-32 going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors cut the deficit to 44-42 going into the final push by Western Christian as the Brooks-based team looks to finish off the Crusader Classic strongly Friday.
“I was really impressed with how we fought down ten and brought it back to two, I thought we were doing really well. We didn’t want to give up, but it was a little out of reach and we were right there with them,” Higgins said. “We’ll come in(to Friday) with a mindset to win. Do our job, do our best and do our part to win it.”