West Salem — In the early part of Mountain Valley Conference play, the West Salem Lady Titans and Mountain View Cougars have emerged as arguably the two best teams in the conference. The Cougars started off 3-0 to start the conference schedule, knocking off South Salem, McNary, and Summit prior to their date with the Lady Titans on Friday night. West Salem had only one conference game under their belt, rolling McKay before having their date with McNary canceled due to COVID issues in the Celtics program.
It was fast and furious for West Salem from the jump, nabbing a quick 8-0 lead on the Cougars behind Baylee Butler’s five-point start for the Lady Titans. The Cougars would regroup and ride the back of Kasey Booster, who got a three-point play and a trey to quickly cut the deficit to just 8-6, and an Avery Andrews layup capped their own 8-0 run to tie the game. Lizzy Bennett would put the Lady Titans ahead 10-8 late in the quarter, but Booster and Makenna Bomke closed the quarter with buckets to give Mountain View a 12-10 lead after one. Booster opened the second quarter with a trey, followed up by an Angelina Glasser bucket to push the lead to 17-10 Cougars. A 6-0 West Salem run closed the hole to just a 17-16 game, but Andrews trey put it back to 20-16 Mountain View.
Bennett would find her stripes to close the first half, putting up eight points over the final four minutes of the half as West Salem went on a 17-6 run to take a 27-23 lead at halftime. Kasey Booster led the Cougars with 11 points, Lizzy Bennett had 13 points for the Lady Titans. Unlike the two preceding quarters, the third quarter was a brick wall on the scoring. Andrews had four early points for the Cougars, and Mady Diaz put up five for West Salem to get them in front 32-27 midway through the quarter. After Booster scored, the Lady Titans closed the quarter on a 7-0 run led by Bennett’s five points to lead 39-30 after three quarters.
In an action-packed final quarter, Mountain View began mounting their charge back at West Salem behind Andrews, Booster, and Ruby Haarberg, all of whom contributed to a 10-4 Cougars run that closed it to a 43-40 game early in the fourth. Mya Adams would step up huge for West Salem, going on an individual 6-0 run in a 45-42 game to blow it back open to 51-42 Lady Titans. Mountain View punched back with Andrews and Booster, who combined for a 6-0 run themselves to make it 51-48 with under two minutes left. After Diaz split the free throws, Booster drove to the rack to make it 52-50 with 17 seconds remaining. However, a press break by West Salem resulted in a strike to Butler, who put the nail on the coffin with a layup that made it 54-50 and give the Lady Titans the dub over the Cougars. Lizzy Bennett led West Salem with 18 points in the game and Baylee Butler had 12 points. Mountain View was led by Kasey Booster’s 25 points and Avery Andrews added 13 points.
West Salem: The scoring distribution was beautiful for West Salem and the defensive adjustments on Kasey Booster were also key to their win. Yes, Booster got 25 on them, but without putting Baylee Butler on Booster she might have put up 30-35 and pushed the win in their favor. Lizzy Bennett was solid as an inside-out threat on offense, alongside the Lady Titans clogging up the paint to hold Avery Andrews to 13 points. Overall, a very nice win and a test passed for the Lady Titans as they head into a week with Bend and Summit on the docket.
Mountain View: A third quarter marred with turnovers is what killed them down the stretch, as they had the firepower to keep up on offense. Kasey Booster is a shining star for this program, and Avery Andrews is a great double threat for the Cougars. On defense, they left too many shots wide open and couldn’t execute efficiently on the boards, as Bennett, Mady Diaz, Butler, and others all found plenty of second chance opportunities on offense. The Cougars will be in the mix for the conference title, but they need to clean it up on the floor to keep up with the Lady Titans.