Salem Academy Brings Home 2A State Championship

By Jeremy McDonald

PENDLETON, Ore.–  That dang ‘Salem’-chant had a lot of energy to it this evening as the Salem Academy Boys Basketball team brought home the 2A State Title in dominant fashion Saturday night against Western Christian.  The squad won its first boys basketball title since that Covid-shortened season Championship a few years ago when they defeated the Pioneers 51-35 at the Pendleton Convention Center. Getting revenge from last year’s State Championship game that could’ve started a three-peat for the Crusaders.

Weirdly at one point in this one, despite the eventual wide margin, Western Christian had the game once down 23-20 midway through the second half before Salem Academy had pushed their lead to six at the halftime break.  Leading 28-22 at the break before really taking off behind Jackson Oglesby and Luke Molan.  The Duo accounted for 32 of the Crusaders points in the win to close out their High School careers with a State Title. 

For Oglesby, he was turned to during the net cutting ceremony to make the final cut to get the net off the rim.  All year he was one of the leaders of the team and Salem Academy, so for his coach after his final game to do that was something pretty special to him.

“It means a lot to me.  That means he trusted me as a player, that I showed I’m a true asset to the team,” smiles Oglesby about the honor.  “(These last three years) have been crazy.  We’ve been to the State Championship three years-in-a-row now.  We won the first one, took second the second year and now this year we won.  We got revenge on Western Christian from last year so it feels amazing.

“Coming into the second half, we knew we were slacking on defense and offense.  We knew if we really wanted to win this thing we had to come out to win it and that’s what we did.”

Oglesby finished his High School career with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.  Molan contributed 15 points with five rebounds in the win.  Mateo Schutt scored another nine for the Crusaders.

As for Western Christian, who were led by Gavin Hall’s 15 points, it wasn’t how they would’ve hoped their season would’ve ended.  But for a team full of freshman and sophomores, plus a Hall of Fame-caliber coach at the helm with Gary Hull, there’s no question that they’ll be back in the future contending for State Championships.

“It’s going to motivate us a lot to get better and try to do it again next year.  It’s helped us with chemistry  because we get to know each other more.  We’ll just need to work harder in the off-season and we can use that moving forward,” Hall said.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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