In a pandemic-less world, South Salem girls basketball might have challenged for a 2nd consecutive state title this season

By René Ferrán

Over the next two weeks, SBLive Oregon will break down more than 100 Oregon high school basketball teams. Here’s our look at the South Salem Saxons girls of the Class 6A Mountain Valley Conference.

Photo by Taylor Balkom

SOUTH SALEM TEAM PAGE

HEAD COACH

Adrian Lewis, fourth season (55-23)

2019-20 AT A GLANCE

Overall record: 23-4

League record: 14-0, first in MVC

Playoffs: Beat David Douglas 83-55 in first round; beat Benson 65-57 in second round; beat McMinnville 59-45 in quarterfinals

ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED

G Hilary James, player of the year

P Victoria Stafford, first team

G Gretchen Olsen, second team

G Delaney Keith, second team

P Zoe Fry, honorable mention

W Ellyson Haytas, honorable mention

PLAYERS TO WATCH

G Halley Barram, Jr., 5-8

Barram is a two-year starter on the JV team who will step into a much bigger role this season after making the playoff roster as a sophomore. “She is long and lanky, which makes her a great defender,” Lewis said. “She can also shoot the ball well.”

W Lexie Dalton, Jr., 5-7

Another two-year starter on the JV team who made the postseason roster, Dalton is super athletic and willing to mix it up on the boards. “She runs the court well, and her pull-up jumper is tough to guard,” Lewis said. 

P Jacquie Wadsworth, Sr., 5-10

Wadsworth will be the only senior on the roster this spring after swinging between JV and varsity each of the past two seasons. Lewis called her “one of the most athletic girls in my program, strong and athletic enough to play center but also quick enough to play a wing.” 

P Brookelyn Worst, Jr., 6-2

Worst is a two-sport standout (she plays middle blocker in volleyball) who transferred from Cascade over the summer. With Fry having graduated early, Worst becomes the team’s best inside scoring threat and a shot-blocking presence in the middle. 

OUTLOOK

The Saxons last season appeared poised to challenge for the fourth state championship in school history, reaching the semifinals behind first-team all-state point guard Hilary James and a talented starting five that thrived in the open court and pushed the pace whenever possible.

The pandemic halted their playoff run, then wreaked havoc on a roster that again could have contended for a title despite graduating three all-MVC players (Stafford, Olsen and Haytas).

With the season delayed, James decided to reclassify and enrolled at Lipscomb University, playing in eight games. Fry and backup point guard Malyah Bolden graduated early, and Keith transferred to Skyview in Nampa, Idaho.

With their top seven no longer around, opportunities are available for players stacked up at the JV level the past two years — players such as Barram and Dalton, who are projected to start in the backcourt. 

“My program has been hit severely,” Lewis said. “I still have high hopes but a lot of inexperience this year. I’m excited to see some of these younger girls who were next in line to shine this season. They have been putting in the work, so we’ll be using this year as a way to build for next year, when, hopefully, we are back to normal.” 

COACH SAID 

“We were one of the hottest teams in the state with a 19-game winning streak headed to the Final Four. Then the shutdown happened and it came all crashing down. Regardless, it was one that I will always remember and be thankful for. We really had a chance to win the whole thing, I believe.” — Adrian Lewis

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