Quakers face tougher competition
SALEM – Coach Rich Hart and the Salem Quakers know that it is going to take a team effort against Ravenna Southeast on Wednesday night to advance to the Division II title game.
“We can’t rest on Anthony (Shivers) and (Ryan) Bush,” Hart said. “We have to get scoring from all five the farther we go. It’s going to be a true team that’s going to go far, we need five guys that can score.”
The Quakers will undoubtedly rely heavily upon that duo of Bush and Shivers, who combine to score nearly 61 percent of the Quakers’ points.
Bush, the Columbiana County Player of the Year, was held to 12 points, 11 below his average, in the Quakers’ 70-53 win over Ravenna on Friday. The senior guard also battled foul trouble, fouling out with just over a minute to play in the fourth quarter.
“He hasn’t been in foul trouble really all year,” Hart said. “So he’s definitely ready to get out there on Wednesday.”
Shivers, averaging 16.9 points per game, will also be relied upon heavily on the boards. His 6.2 rebounds per game is second behind junior Max Wolfgang, who averages 7.5 rebounds.
If the Quakers want to continue to move on, they will need all hands on deck.
Salem’s tournament run has been bolstered by the scoring depth that has recently emerged. Seniors Zach Economous and Brendan Webb and junior Max Wolfgang complement Bush and Shivers.
Economous netted a career-high11 points in the Quakers opening-round victory over Cortland Lakeview. He followed it up with 10 points against Ravenna.
“We all forget that he shot over 40 percent from three last year,” Hart said. “We’ve been waiting for this to come all season because we knew he could do it.”
Economous is also frequently manned up on the opponent’s best player. Wednesday night, he will be tasked with limiting Trevor Norquest. Webb will be saddled with guarding Jordan Krych and Bush will defend Nathan Symiak.
Wolfgang will be relied upon to help clean the glass with Shivers.
“Max has done a great job, he’s another one who has just gotten better and better as the year has progressed,” Hart said. “Not just offensively but defensively. He gets meshes well as a junior with a bunch of seniors.”
Having Webb on the outside only helps Shivers and Wolfgang inside. Webb matched his career high with 12 points against Ravenna and can keep the inside open for his big men if he continues to score from the perimeter.
“I think that’s the reason he’s going to be so important that he does score because they tend to lay off him and double down,” Hart said. “If he can score, and they cant double down, that’s going to make our posts more effective.”
Southeast enters Wednesday night’s game with confidence after defeating Niles 76-67 in double overtime on Friday night. The Pirates connected on nine three-pointers in their upset win over the third-seeded Red Dragons.
“They’re kind of the Cinderella story, I would say most people thought Niles would win,” Hart said. ” They’re a gutsy team, anyone who can make 7 put of 8 three’s down the stretch, that shows what kind of character they have. They play extremely hard and they’ll be a tough match-up because they don’t have much size.”
Size aside, the Quakers plan on limiting the Pirates guards. Quality guards have caused problems at times this year for Salem, and Hart wants his team to get after them early.
“It’s important that we get going right off the bat,” Hart said. “I think we need the same kind of start we had against Ravenna. That’s a big key. We have to establish ourselves on the defensive end and get after it.”
The Pirates and Quakers share a similar opponent in West Branch. Ravenna Southeast handed the Warriors a 56-52 in overtime defeat in December. The Quakers completed a season sweep of the Warriors this season.
“That was early in the season, one of the first games of the year,” Hart said. “They have all of the momentum in the world now, so that’s going to be big for them. They have some talent, they can shoot it.”
The Pirates trio of Krych, Norquest and Symiak combined for 55 of Southeast’s 76 points against Niles.
“The thing about Krych is that he hit 10 out of 11 free throws, so you don’t want to foul this guy either,” Hart said. “Trevor Norquest is strong, he can shoot the three and get to the basket. They all have a different t type of thing to worry about.
“We’ll have to limit them to one shot, that will be huge.
Salem and Ravenna Southeast tip off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Boardman High School