Saints Victorious in Eagles’ Nest

    Our Salem basketball families made the trek to Shakopee on Tuesday night as our Saints took on the Bloomington #2 Eagles. Our kids were very excited to finally get back on the basketball court in our first game of the new year!
    Playing in our fifth straight away game, our Saints were impressively up for the challenge right from the opening tip. In the first half, our offensive execution was the best I have seen yet this season. All of our half court offensive plays are designed to create drive and dish opportunities at the basket. Due to our solid execution and improvisation within the plays, we were able to rack up the fouls on the Eagles, enabling our Saints to shoot a ton of free throws (21 TOTAL!). Three different players on the Saints attempted and made free throws in the first half, which allowed us to go into halftime with a nice cushion on the scoreboard (halftime score: 24-11).
    Death, taxes, and well-coached Bloomington teams. These three things are pretty much a guarantee in life. Unsurprisingly, the Eagles came out of the locker room with impressive energy and hustle that enabled them to fight back into the game in the second half. They did an excellent job of matching our aggressiveness and physicality in the second half, which forced the Saints into our fair share of foul trouble. Both teams combined to shoot a total of 36 free throws in the game! In the final minutes of the game, as the Eagles tightened up their defense and applied heavier on-ball pressure, our Saints did a very good job of limiting turnovers with superior ball-handling and decision making. Thankfully for our Saints, eight points were as close as the Eagles got in the second half, leading to a hard-fought road win for Salem in the Eagles’ Nest (final score: 38-30)!
    Eighth graders Griffin (15 points) and John (13 points) led the way in scoring. However, the key contributions from both of our posts were the main difference in the outcome of the game. Eighth grader David (6 points) and seventh grader Noah (4 points) both turned in their best performances of the season thus far. Both David and Noah battled relentlessly all night inside against some very skilled Bloomington #2 post players. David and Noah each had a beautiful drop-step post move that they finished through traffic at the rim. Without David and Noah’s tremendous effort on Tuesday, I am not so sure the outcome of the game is the same!
    The Saints have a quick turnaround this week, as we are back to work in practice this Thursday. We will be preparing for two games this Friday (Jan. 11th) against Berea (6:30pm) and Good Shepherd (8:30). With only a few more home games left this season, it is my hope that we pack the bleachers for a fun night of basketball! Go Saints!!

By: Coach Travis Koester


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