By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Sprague once more proved that that’ll be a tough out with the 6A State Playoffs on the horizon as the Olympians rallied from 18-3 down to take a brief 49-47 lead after Grayson Long three-pointer at quarters end. Catching West Salem in a slump after the Titans clinched their first league title in ten years back on Tuesday against McNary in Keizer.
“We all got together and then we started playing as a team, we were bringing it. We came out with effort and we went on a run,” Long said. “We now know what it takes, once we play a team it can go either way. We can beat any team, any time, we just have to bring it.”
“We stopped driving to the middle and kicking out and we were taking some forced shots. Liam Spencer got hot, that’s hard to contain when he’s coming off all those screens. We got to stay locked in no matter what, we got to stay focused each play at a time and we can’t stop until the game ends,” West Salem’s Jackson Leach adds.
Leach would come in clutch for West Salem coming out of the quarter break, scoring six-straight for the Titans to hand West a 53-49 lead with 4:45 left in the game. Ultimately the junior guard scored eight of his 13 points in the final frame, something they needed as Sprague cut the lead down to 55-53.
“It was huge because we started off big early and then they slowly started creeping back in, so just anything to get a spark going. This time it was me scoring, Matthew (Luke) hit a big three…anything to get us going with them slowly creeping back in helped us,” Leach said. “It shows that we can hang with anybody, no matter the situation we’re in. Whether we’re battling adversity or the favorites to win it, we know we can hang in there and get the win. ]We were missing Trent (Ferguson) and Connor (Oretel) tonight, so just being able to trust each other and know that we can get it done. Just bounce back and knowing this was a big game with playoffs coming, it was just trusting each other,”
The Olympians struggled down the stretch with West Salem extending their lead without Oretel or Ferguson in the lineup, disrupting the flow Sprague gotten themselves into after the first quarter with both teams destined for the 6A Playoffs this next week.
Tommy Slack led the Titans with 18 points and Liam Spencer had a game-high 26 points in the defeat.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald