SALEM – Just about everyone on the Salem boys basketball team got in on the action against United on senior night.
Strong from the beginning, and even stronger in the second half, the Quakers make senior night a collaborative one with a 59-39 victory over the Eagles at Cabas Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The Quakers improve to 7-14 with a large offensive drive in the second half. The Quakers caught the Eagles off guard and dominated in the zone with offense from Ryan Hoover, who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter, and D.J. Pullie with 12.
“I had to keep firing at them,” Hoover said. “We just had to keep firing to stay away from them.”
The biggest surprise of the night, and another reason for the Quakers’ senior night joy, was the return of Max Wolfgang.
Considered finished for the season after fracturing his foot against Marlington, the senior was medically cleared just before gametime, which excited coach Rich Hart.
“It was good to have Max back,” Hart said. “He just got cleared before the game, and actually moved pretty well. He got in about 14 minutes.”
Hoover also noticed a turnaround in the atmosphere once the team learned that Wolfgang, who scored nine points, was back.
“When he’s hurt, he’s still there, but when he’s playing and he’s into it and not just on the sideline, he can do something about the game,” Hoover said.
When the Quakers led by 19 at the start of the fourth quarter, the rest of the roster got some playing time.
Those who didn’t get much playing time throughout the season, like senior Carter Rose and freshman Garrett Dickey, made the best of their brief appearances on the court.
Seven of the eight seniors scored at least one basket.
“Everyone was able to get in,” Hart said. “It was good to get everyone in and have everybody see some playing time.”
After trailing by seven in the first quarter, the Eagles (3-19) saw their strongest action in the second quarter, holding the Quakers to only six points.
“We settled down after the first quarter a little bit,” United coach Matt Mowery said. “There was help on the side of defense and we were taking away from the driving gaps.”
Salem took over in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 18-5 to open up a 19-point lead.
“The third quarter is the most important quarter, and we came out flat,” Mowery said. “We didn’t penetrate against their zone. That really killed us.”
Jake Clark, Caleb Conser and Braden Davison scored 10 points apiece for the Eagles.
Salem will finish out the regular season at Canfield on Friday.
UNITED SCORING: Tanner Curfman 0-0-0, Caleb Berdine 1-0-2, Jake Clark 3-1-10, Cody Dickens 1-0-2, Tucker Widlicka 0-0-0, Matt Blake 0-0-, Colton Antram 2-1-5, Caleb Conser 3-2-10, Braden Davison 4-2-10, Eric Blosser 0-0-0, Hayden Wilson 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 14, 6-10: 39.
SALEM SCORING: D.J. Pullie 4-2-12, Mark Fredrickson 1-0-2, Jake Bezon 0-0-0, Tyler Shaffer 0-0-0, Alex Weikart 2-0-6, Andrew Dolphin 1-0-3, Mike Popa 2-0-4, Trey Toothman 0-0-0, Ryan Hoover 9-2-20, Carter Rose 0-1-1, Brandon Weikart 0-0-0, Max Wolfgang 3-2-9, Jared Polen 0-0-0, Nick Rusyn 0-0-0, Garrett Dickey 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 7-16: 59.
Three-point goals: United 5 (Clark 3, Conser 2) , Salem 6 (Pullie 2, Weikart 2, Dolphin, Wolfgang).