BOARDMAN-After a successful regular season, the Salem Quakers answered the opening bell in tournament play.
The Quakers opened Division II sectional play with a solid 69-48 win over Lakeview at Boardman High School on Tuesday night.
“Tonight we just continued doing what worked for us in the regular season,” Salem senior Ryan Bush said. “We were able to get up and down the floor early, and our overall execution was very good.”
Bush had 23 points to lead a balanced attack for the Quakers, who improved to 17-6. Anthony Shivers chipped in 15 points and Max Wolfgang pulled down 14 rebounds.
Brandon Bensing led Lakeview (4-19) with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Salem defense was stifling from the outset, leading to a flurry of transition buckets in the first quarter when the Quakers raced out to a 23-6 lead.
“We did a great job in setting the tone early at both ends of the floor,” Salem coach Rich Hart said. “Max Wolfgang got everything started with his defense and rebounding and we were able to get some good open shots.”
The Quakers never trailed and wound up shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor.
“I was pleased with our perimeter game,” Hart said. “We didn’t finish the year shooting very well, but we worked hard during the past week and the results were there tonight.”
“Coming into the game we really wanted to focus on our transition defense,” Lakeview coach Craig Mild said. “But we did not get back down the floor very well in the first quarter, and we let Ryan Bush have way too many open shots.”
Lakeview cut the lead to 29-20 with just under two minutes left before halftime when Hart called a quick timeout.
“We had some sloppy turnovers in the second quarter and started drifiting away from what got us the lead,” Hart said. “I thought we needed to wake up a little bit.”
The Quakers came out of the timeout and closed the half on an 8-0 run -aided by a pair of key offensive rebounds from Shivers and Wolfgang – to restore their 17-point margin.
“I’m proud of the way our players kept fighting,” Mild said. “We felt we were right there in the second quarter, but that run at the end of the half really hurt us. We went from being only down by single digits to back in a deep hole in the blink of an eye.”
Lakeview got no closer than 13 in the second half, and was held to 24 percent shooting for the night.
“I give Lakeview credit for fighting as hard as they did,” Hart said. “They have a young team and kept battling all through the second half, in the end we were able to do what was needed to win the game.”
The Quakers advances to face Ravenna (13-9) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“It’s nice to have our first tournament win put away, but we can’t make the same mistakes we did tonight and expect to win,” Hart said. “Ravenna has some nice interior players and plenty of shooters to space the floor. We are going to have to be at our best.”
SALEM SCORING: Ryan Bush 8-5-23, Brendan Webb 1-2-5, Zach Economus 3-2-11, Max Wolfgang 2-5-9, Anthony Shivers 7-1-15, Zack Wukotich 1-1-3, Mike Madison 0-1-1, Brooks Bezon 1-0-2 Austin Frank 0-0-0 Mike Popa 0-0-0 Ryan Hoover 0-0-0 Rocco Davanzo 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23, 17-28:69
LAKEVIEW SCORING: Justin Journey 2-0-4, Brandon Bensing 6-2-17, Ryan Pishotti 1-0-2, Tom Bell 1-2-4, Andrew Grove 1-0-3, Jake Pishotti 2-0-5, Jake Rosowicz 1-0-3, Erich Schmitt 2-0-4, Angelo Marino 2-1-6. TOTALS: 18, 5-8:48.
Three-pointerss: Salem 5 (Economus 3, Bush 2, Webb 1), Lakeview 7 (Bensing 3, Grove, Jake Pishotti, Rosowicz, Marino).