The Warrenton girls basketball team was looking more like the state title contenders they're hoping to be in a 38-37 win Thursday afternoon over No. 2-ranked Salem Academy on Day 1 of the SCTC Holiday Classic at Stayton.

The win over the Crusaders came exactly two weeks after Salem Academy defeated Warrenton 46-17 in a nonleague game on the Crusaders' home floor.

Highlighted by a buzzer-beating shot to end the third quarter, Warrenton's Claire Bussert scored 20 points to lead the Warriors in Thursday's win, their biggest of the season.

Warrenton is still missing senior post Fernanda Alvarez, but held off Salem Academy down the stretch.

“We just made the plays when we needed to make them,” said Warrenton coach Robert Hoepfl. “It was a great team win, and everybody contributed. Claire was just hitting big shot after big shot. Kenzie (Ramsey) only scored six points, but they came on two big 3-pointers.”

The Warriors are scheduled to play host Stayton at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and the tournament concludes Saturday. Warrenton jumps to fifth in the latest OSAA rankings, while Salem Academy drops to sixth.

Just six days after Seaside defeated Cottage Grove 38-28 in the Seaside Holiday Classic, the Lions completed a 31-point turnaround Thursday with a 58-37 win over the Gulls in another first round game of the SCTC Holiday Classic at Stayton.

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