Salem seniors burn Campbell
SALEM – The Salem Quakers sent their seniors out in style.
The Quakers celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday with a convincing 74-51 victory over Campbell Memorial at Cabas Gymnasium. The Quakers led from start to finish and held a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter behind play from a senior-heavy squad.
Salem has 10 seniors on its roster, and all of them contributed to the win.
“This game is a little bittersweet,” Salem coach Rich Hart said. “For the seniors, you know the end is near. It’s always tough. These kids that I’ve spent so much time with will be gone soon. But, it’s nice to be able to get them all out on the floor and recognize them.”
From the opening tip, Salem dominated.
Anthony Shivers scored the first six points of the contest as the Quakers opened an 11-2 lead early in the first frame. Shivers also scored the last points of the opening half with a thunderous slam dunk that gave Salem a 21-point advantage heading into halftime. Shivers, who finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, netted 14 of his points in the first two quarters.
The second half started the way the first ended. This time it was Ryan Bush breaking free for a slam dunk.
Bush would finish with 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
While the lead would extend to 28 points midway through the third quarter, play continued to be intense.
Both teams played an aggressive, physical style throughout which led to a total of 32 personal fouls, including a technical on both teams. Prior to the start of the fourth quarter, officials warned both squads that any further intentional fouls would result in an ejection.
“They played hard,” Hart said of the Red Devils. “There were a lot of bumping going on out there. We’ve got to learn to just roll with it and not overreact.”
Austin Frank converted a three-point play early in the fourth quarter to give Salem its biggest lead of the game, 69-40.
Down the stretch, the Quakers saw contributions from all of their senior players.
“We’ll probably never have 10 seniors on the same team again,” Hart said. “They’re all good kids. The ones that don’t get to play much, they still contribute. They work hard during practice to make us better. That’s a tribute to what kind of kids they are. They’re always willing to help each other out. I’m proud of all of them and it’s been a pleasure to coach this group.”
The win moves the Quakers to 14-6 on the season, while the Red Devils fall to 6-14.
Despite the lopsided score, Hart said he saw areas that still need to improve.
“We rushed a little in our half court sets,” Hart said. “We’ve got to slow things down, turn it down a gear and make sure we’re making good decisions with the basketball.”
Salem will play its final Northeastern Buckeye Conference game on Friday at Louisville before finishing the regular season against United. The Quakers will open postseason play in the Division II sectional at Boardman on Feb. 26 against Lakeview.
Until then, Hart said he will tell his team that there is still time to improve.
“We want to make sure we eliminate mistakes,” Hart said. “We can usually run and do pretty well on the boards, but we’ve got to be able to execute in the half court.”
– Salem won the junior varsity game, 43-39. Ryan Hoover paced the Quakers with 25 points, followed by Mike Popa with nine points.
– The Quakers were able to score on four slam dunks, three by Bush and one by Shivers.
– Salem is the No. 2 seed in the Boardman sectional. Poland is No. 1, Niles is No. 3 and Ravenna is No. 4. If the Quakers get past Lakeview, they will meet Ravenna on March 1.
– Bush continues to improve upon his school scoring record. He now has 1,211 career points.
– Salem’s 10 seniors are: Zack Wukotich, Brendan Webb, Anthony Shivers, Mike Madison, Eric Madison, Austin Frank, Zach Economus, Rocco Davanzo, Ryan Bush and Brooks Bezon.