Editor's note:?The Salem News is presenting the first chapter of "Love Those Quakers: The Road to Columbus,"?a book by David C. Hunter
detailing what many consider the best season in Salem basketball history. Today is the final part of the three-part series.
During the second quarter, Salem continued its brilliant execution both offensively and defensively. East Tech's high octane offense lacked pick-up power. Salem, on the other hand, was able to slash and penetrate, providing each player with a good line of vision for jump shots and drives to the basket. In short, Salem was able to control the tempo of the game, first, by playing tight, jockstrap defense, chasing down rebounds and blocking out effectively under the basket; and, second, by patiently running its offense until the motion created a good shot.
Salem's strategy and execution slowed down Tech's run-and-gun offense, forcing them to take more difficult shots from the field. Then, when they missed, Slaby and Marks blocked out tenaciously underneath while Deitch, Hunter, and Krichbaum hustled to collect long rebounds, taking away Tech's strength of getting second and third shots after a miss.
Only Ken Glenn and Ed Ferguson provided any scoring punch for the Scarabs in the first half. Jim Stone was blanketed to one field goal in the first 16 minutes. Salem, on the other hand, got consistent scoring from its starters to pull out to a ten-point lead at half time, 39-29. The crowd was incredulous. Clearly, Salem's disciplined and courageous play against the state's number one-ranked team and reigning state champion stunned the overflow crowd.
Salem's shooting percentage in the first half was 50%, hitting 16 of 32 shots. Cleveland East Tech's 29% resulted from making only 12 of 41 shots.
The Scarabs were taking shots, but they were contested shots, not easy shots. East Tech out rebounded Salem in the first half 20 to 15, but that slim margin favored the Quakers.
During halftime Coach Broski and the East Tech players must have wondered if they were in "The Twilight Zone," where Salemites cheered their opponents and treated them with great respect, even allowing them to wear their home uniforms as a visiting team. Yet they were being mistreated on the basketball court by a group of Quakers, no less.
In our own locker room, Coach Cabas praised our efforts, but warned us that East Tech would strike back in the second half. After all, they didn't become state champions by giving up. To win, we had to continue to control the tempo of the game, to keep them off balance, and to rebound tenaciously. In short, we had to continue to play like champions.
Cleveland East Tech controlled the third quarter tip (What's new?) and tried to increase the tempo of the game. Salem continued to take the fight to the Scarabs at both ends of the court. With 4:16 left in the quarter Krichbaum hit a layup, increasing Salem's lead to 12 points at 45-33. The low score after two-and-a-half quarters clearly revealed that Salem's game plan was working and that East Tech's was not. At that point Coach John Broski called a strategic time out to stop the bleeding. An enraged Broski had seen enough and exhorted his team to be more aggressive and more physical around the basket.
Coming out of the time out, East Tech played with more focus and determination. To try to free Stone for a jump shot, big Ed Ferguson set a hard screen that dislodged Hunter from his tight defense. The All Stater hit one of his patented jump shots with 3:50 left in the third quarter to cut Salem's lead to ten, 45-35.
Then two things happened that completely changed the game's momentum. The Quakers suddenly went cold, missing their outside jump shots as Tech tightened up its zone defense, packing wide bodies closer to the basket. East Tech, on the other hand, scored 11 unanswered points in the last 3:50 of the third quarter. The Scarabs' hot streak pulled them within one as the quarter ended.
Salem still clung to the lead 45-44, but seemed to lose its focus and shooting touch.
East Tech had utilized its great height advantage to attack the offensive boards with impunity. Tech's big men pushed and shoved their way under the boards to score on follow-up shots.
After getting the tip to start the fourth quarter, East Tech set up another designed play, freeing Stone for another long range jump shot. East Tech took the lead 46-45, and Glenn increased the lead to 49-45, finishing off its 16-point run without a Salem score. For over five minutes Salem had failed to score.
Finally, Hunter hit a foul shot with 7:07 left to break the drought. For the remainder of the fourth quarter, however, the state champs pounded the boards relentlessly and on several occasions tapped the ball on the rim three or four times before scoring the layup.
The pounding that the Quakers took under the boards finally exacted its toll. The 6'9" Ferguson, 6'8" Lane, 6'6" Glenn, and the 6'4" Porter took control of the game underneath the basket.
Although Salem never gave up, East Tech played like champions. Once the momentum swung to East Tech, the Quakers couldn't regain their balance. The final score was 68-59, but it was not indicative of the battle that took place in northeastern Ohio on Friday, December 26, 1958.
In the second half Salem made only 6 of 33 shots for 18% while East Tech scored on 15 of 37 shots for 40%. The overall game totals were closer as the Scarabs made 35% of its field goal attempts compared to Salem's 33%. In the foul shooting department, the Scarabs hit 16 of 22 for 72.7%; the Quakers, 15 of 22 for 68%.
East Tech controlled the boards in the second half, outrebounding Salem 26 to 14. Game totals gave Tech the big edge with 46 rebounds to Salem's 29. Both teams played tough defense throughout the game hounding each other all over the court.
Cleveland East Tech's trump card, as usual, was its superior height advantage which finally led them to victory. The wrecking crew for the Scarabs was Ken Glenn with 18 points and 18 rebounds and Ed Ferguson who scored 18 points and collected 10 rebounds. Jim Stone scored 11 points; Lamoyne Porter scored 7 points; and Gene Lane added 2 points.
The Salem Quakers countered with its usual strength of balanced scoring: Dan Krichbaum and Dave Hunter led with 14 points each; Lou Slaby added 13 points; Woody Deitch finished with 12 points; and Clyde Marks followed with 6 points. Surprisingly, Jim Lehwald went scoreless but played an excellent floor game along with a solid defensive effort.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's sports reporter, Ed Chay, summarized the great match up: "Salem High's fired up basketball team gave Cleveland East Tech a terrific scare for three periods, but the calm and poised state champions closed with a tremendous fourth quarter rally to jolt the upset minded Quakers, 68-59, in a thriller."
During his interview after the game, Coach Cabas praised his team's gallant effort: "East Tech had just a little too much height and experience for us tonight, but we'll get better. It was a fine effort."
For the rest of the season, Coach Cabas' optimistic dream was that his team would get another crack at East Tech in the state playoffs.
By that time his young Quaker team would have gained experience and seasoning. They would be ready to contend for the crown, in his opinion. If only destiny or poetic justice would grant his request.
For the Salem players themselves, however, playing a competitive game against powerful East Tech placed them into the 'crucible of competition' with the elite teams in the state. This game proved to the players that they had passed the test or trial put in their path, and that they could compete against the top ranked teams in Ohio high school basketball.