Corvallis — Tuesday night marked the opening night of Mid-Willamette Conference action for the Crescent Valley Raiders and North Salem Vikings. Coming off demolishing La Salle Prep on Thursday, the Raiders looked to continue their dominant offensive performance, while the Vikings looked to recover from a Friday loss to Crook County.
Crescent Valley wasted no time making their post presence known, as Justin Hamilton opened the scoring with a layup for the Raiders. Elesban Almonte-Vasquez tied it at 2-2, but the Raiders reeled off a 15-0 run to end the quarter, with Hamilton picking up six points, Wes Raab four points, and another four for Noah Dewey. Crescent Valley led 17-2 after one quarter of action.
North Salem started the second with a free throw and a bucket to make it 17-5, but Crescent Valley erased the momentum with a pair of Chase Beardsley treys and a Jake Leibelt basket and extended the lead back out to 25-5. The Vikings closed out the half on a 14-7 run, allowing them to cut the halftime deficit to 32-19. Beardsley led all scorers with 10 points at the half for the Raiders, Michael Endicott led North Salem with seven points.
Continuing their upward trend, the Vikings traded 4-0 runs to start the third quarter. After another Raiders 4-0 run, North Salem ripped off an 8-0 run to close the deficit to 39-31, their closest margin to Crescent Valley since the first quarter. The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the period, but North Salem had cut the deficit to 43-32 as they entered the fourth quarter of play.
Just like the third, the teams traded baskets to open the fourth, but North Salem had an interesting fight in this one. After trading baskets, the Vikings rolled off a 7-0 run to close within 45-41 early in the fourth quarter. Crescent Valley responded by pulling off their own 6-0 run and make it a double digit lead again. The Vikings struggled to stop Hamilton in the fourth, as he ripped eight of the Raiders 19 points, and while Spencer Dorsey-Dusquene had a pair of clutch treys as the clock winded down, Crescent Valley walked out of their home court with a 62-51 victory to open Mid-Willamette Conference action.
6-6 Junior Justin Hamilton and 6-5 Guard/Post combo Jake Lelbelt joined me afterwards to discuss the Raiders victory over the Vikings and prepping for the rough Mid-Willamette slate that awaits them in 2020.
Jake Lelbelt on his evaluation of CV’s first conference game: “We’re a young team and certainly have a lot of work in front of us, but I think we have a lot of potential. We came out and played hard, probably should’ve came out a bit harder in the second half, we kind of fell asleep but came back and finished it off.”
Justin Hamilton on exposing the size mismatch: “Honestly we just took it as bigs, and when they started biting on it, we just kicked it out to our guards who are open and can knock it down.”
Justin Hamilton on competing in the Mid-Willamette: “We need to hold each other accountable in practice and games, and just keep pushing each other.”
Crescent Valley (4-2, 1-0) host The Dalles on Friday, North Salem (2-2, 0-1) face Pendleton at Rex Putnam High School on Friday.