SALEM -The West Branch boys basketball teamknew that sweeping Salem in a two-night stand wasn’t going to be easy.
Despite a stronger, more-determined Quakers bench effort, the Warriors were able to use the same offensive plan from the night before and close down the Quakers, 68-61, Saturday at Cabas Gymnasium.
“It’s always hard to win here,” West Branch coach Lou Sellaroli said. “Getting the win back-to-back against Salem is really big for us.”
The Warriors improve to 5-13 overall and 3-10 in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference with a near-carbon copy of the same dominant offense from Friday night.
Jerian Thomas again led the Warriors with 20 points. Kip DeShields had just as strong of a night with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
“You have to be strong with the ball in offense and defense,” DeShields said. “We just played with a lot of heart tonight.”
DeShields knew, though, that the performance of the Quakers would be much better than Friday when the Warriors dominated the first half and cruised to a 71-49 victory.
“They made shots,” DeShields said. “They made shots tonight, and we just had to come back with our own shots. Still, it was two good wins for us.”
Sellaroli was happy with DeShields’ results, especially as halftime approached.
“He already had a double-double by halftime,” Sellaroli said. “He was just able to put it away and help out.”
Jake Evanoff also had a big night with 13, and Dustin Greenawalt scored 10.
The Quakers (6-12, 5-8 NBC) did not underestimate the Warriors this time around, and provided answers to Warrior baskets with a collaborative effort from D.J. Pullie and Andrew Dolphin, both leading the Quakers with 15 points apiece. Ryan Hoover added 11 points.
Salem coach Rich Hart was pleased with the collaborative effort, which helped put the Quakers within four by the third quarter after trailing by ten at halftime.
“We’ll continue to get better,” Hart said. “They’ve shot the ball better the last two games than they’ve shot all year.”
What stayed the same, however, was foul trouble. Similar to Friday’s game, the Quakers had 14 fouls in the first half alone as opposed to the Warriors’ three. Pullie, Dolphin, Jake Bezon and Mike Ciotti all were in foul trouble for the Quakers.
“We had four guys with four fouls,” Hart said. “It’s hard to put any defensive pressure on anybody when you’re one foul away. That really hurt us, but that’s just the way it is. We’re just going to have to stay down and be more fundamental defensively.”
Next for the Quakers will be a few practices as they continue without senior Max Wolfgang, who was lost for the season after suffering a fractured foot during Tuesday’s game against Marlington.
“It would have been nice to have a good week of practices without Max, but it just didn’t happen,” Hart said. “Nevertheless, I am very proud of them and how they had played and handled themselves.”
West Branch also won the junior varsity game, 45-43. Austin Smith led the Warriors with 11 points. Garrett Dickey scored 13 for the Quakers.
The Warriors host Canfield on Tuesday, while the Quakers host Beaver Local on Wednesday.
-Salem has now lost its fourth straight. The Quakers’ last victory was against Carrollton, 62-57, on Jan. 24, also Salem’s last NBC victory.
-The 50/50 prize was $72, just $2 more than the previous night.
WEST BRANCH: 17-24-14-13-68
WEST BRANCH SCORING: Dustin Greenawalt 3-3-10, Kyle Zeigler 1-0-2, Matt Meiter 1-2-4, Jerian Thomas 8-0-20, Jake Evanoff 5-1-13, Kip DeShields 6-7-19, Jeremy Gorby 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 13-19: 68.
SALEM SCORING: D.J. Pullie 6-2-15, Mark Fredrickson 2-1-5, Jake Bezon 1-0-3, Andrew Dolphin 6-0-15, Mike Ciotti 4-0-9, Mike Popa 1-0-3, Trey Toothman 0-0-0, Ryan Hoover 4-2-11. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 5-9: 61
Three-point goals: West Branch 7 (Thomas 4, Evanoff 2, Greenawalt), Salem 8 (Dolphin 3, Bezon, Ciotti, Hoover, Popa, Pullie).