By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– The Gervais Girls Basketball team just has a way just to suffocate teams, grinding out wins and just taking the wind out of teams sails.
And in a game against a tough Salem Academy team Tuesday, they once again did just that, turning a 25-21 lead going into halftime into a 40-25 lead going into the fourth quarter. Defense was suffocating, creating turnovers and it led right into points on the offensive side as the Crusaders struggled to respond.
“It’s what we do really well as a team and I think that’s been one of our main reasons why we win is because we grind and we don’t stop working hard, we push with everything we got,” Gervais’ Josie Schultz said. “We worked together and moved the ball, ball movement, they’re a really good team and it felt really good to go out strong and be really competitive with them. It was a challenge most definitely, but we got to expect that from the number one team in the State. They did give it to us and we just kept pushing back and we got the results.”
Salem Academy’s strong start was good considering they were down two major starters in Aly Herber and Grace Hinkle. Haley Ferry stepped up with a 14 point game, Sophie Pass led the Crusaders with seven rebounds as they adjust to life without one of their big post players and their point guard.
It’s good adversity sure with plenty of time to build upon following their 49-30 defeat to the Cougars on the road.
“It’s definitely big because different players need to step up and we need to find our true roles and execute our plays. Match-up with different kinds of players. We can definitely improve like any other team really,” said Ferry. “Mental toughness is our biggest thing. We’re not the biggest team right now, but I think we can continue to improve with our mental toughness and just understanding just because we’re down doesn’t mean we’re going to stay down the rest of the game.”
Olivia Boyd had a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double for Gervais to go with a team-high three blocks. Schultz finished with 11 points and two blocks. Sofia Contreras had a team-high five assists as the Cougars are 6-0 in Tri-River Conference play and 13-2 overall.
Salem Academy falls to 12-2 and 2-2 in league play.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald