Corvallis — In a loaded Mid-Willamette Conference that features Silverton, Corvallis, West Albany, Crescent Valley, Lebanon, and South Albany, the West Albany Bulldogs entered conference action looking to establish themselves as contenders as opposed to pretenders. The young team came out struggling against seasoned Crescent Valley, but they pulled through and picked up a signature victory along the way.
McKenzie Kosmicki hit a free throw to open the scoring for West Albany, but Ana McClave drilled a trey to get the Raiders in front 3-1. After Lyndsay Bailey tied it up, Crescent Valley reeled off a 9-0 run to take the lead 12-3, fueled by Emma Vawter’s six points. Carley Robb and McKenzie Kosmicki hit back to back buckets to make it a 12-7 game, but the Raiders finished on a 6-0 run to lead 18-7 after one quarter. Crescent Valley opened the second quarter with a bucket, but West Albany took over the game with a 10-0 run to cut it all the way to 20-17 Crescent Valley. The teams would trade blows down the rest of the quarter, but the Raiders still led 26-23 as the teams hit the locker room.
The Bulldogs continued their massive momentum run, opening the second half on a 7-0 run to seize the lead 30-26 over Crescent Valley. Trailing 32-27, the Raiders found some rhythm and went on a 7-0 run to retake the lead 34-32. The teams would be tied at 39-39 after three quarters of play. West Albany took the lead 43-39 on a 4-0 run to open the final quarter, but the Raiders would tie the game up at 45 all with under three minutes remaining after a technical foul and subsequent bucket. West Albany would close the door on the Raiders hopes, as they reeled off a 7-0 run to take the lead 52-45, eventually taking the victory 54-47 over Crescent Valley on the road.
After the statement win for West Albany, Bulldogs McKenzie Kosmicki and Brooklyn Strandy talked about the win and the road forward for the Bulldogs in conference play.
McKenzie Kosmicki on the significance of the win for the Bulldogs, “We’ve been waiting a long time to show everybody what we’re made of. This team is so talented and when our players come out, we have players coming in that are just as good. Its hard to compete with us because we have no weak links at all.”
Brooklyn Strandy on the adjustments after the first quarter, “We just had to calm down, our execution on both ends of they floor get sloppy when we are playing like we did in the first quarter. In the 3rd and 4th quarter our focus was defense and boxing out to allow them no second chances on offense. On the offensive end we wanted to spread the floor and move the ball more quickly.”
McKenzie Kosmicki on keys to winning the Mid-Willamette Conference, “We just need to take it one quarter at a time because we’re so talented, but we tend to speed up the game in our head, and when we see competition we want to go for it but we move too fast. We need to slow it down and play our game.”
Brooklyn Strandy on West Albany’s biggest strengths, “Our biggest strength is being able to run the floor and push the ball. We have a lot of athletic players and we all know our rolls. We have a lot of versatility as well which causes problems for defenses. Going into the rest of conference play, our goal is to continue to push the ball in transition.”
West Albany (7-3, 1-1) hosts Central on Friday, Crescent Valley (5-5, 1-1) hosts Corvallis on Friday.