Salem has some learning to do

Salem’s Josh Young splits Niles’ Robbie Savin and Joe Wolfe on Tuesday. (Photo by Gary Leininger)

SALEM — The young Salem Quakers boys basketball team is gaining some experience. Unfortunately, that lack of experience proved costly in a 65-57 loss to the Niles Red Dragon Tuesday night at Cabas Gymnasium.

The setback drops the Quakers to 0-2 on the season, while the Red Dragons improve to 2-0.

“Our kids played hard. No doubt about it,” Quakers coach Jeff Andres said. “But I think our inexperience showed. We don’t have a lot of guys with varsity experience that’s playing right now. We’re trying to get a lot of things taught to them. I think that showed in the fourth quarter with some scenarios and situations that we just didn’t capitalize and we didn’t execute well.”

With the Quakers leading 46-43 with a little over six minutes remaining in the game, the Quakers saw the Red Dragons go on a 13-3 run, grabbing a 56-49 lead at the 3:43 mark of the quarter. The combination of Cyler Kane-Johnson and Corbin Foy for the Red Dragon proved to be the difference in the final frame of the contest.

“He (Jeff Andres) went to that 1-3-1 at the end there kind of changing it up,” Niles coach Doug Foster said. “(Doug) Foster hit a couple quick buckets then he went back to man-to-man and we feel we can score on anybody playing man-to-man. Once they got in foul trouble I felt we had put the game away.”

Kane-Johnson scored 12 of his game-high 31 points, while Foy collected six of his 22 game points in the final quarter as the Red Dragons out-paced the Quakers 22-18 in the period. The Quakers committed a handful of costly turnovers in the final minutes that led to the Dragons pulling away.

“Foy and Kane-Johnson are great players and great scorers,” Andres said. “They do a great job of getting the ball to the rim and scoring for Niles. I thought we did a fair job of making it tough for them to score at times.”

Although the two teams were roughly equal in rebounding on the night, the Red Dragons dominated with 14 of their 20 rebounds coming on the offensive boards. Andres pointed out that that aspect played a big role in the Red Dragons pulling away in the end.

The two teams battled evenly throughout the first three quarters with the Red Dragon holding a narrow 16-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, and an even slimmer 32-30 advantage at the intermission. The Quakers lead by five, 26-21 at the 3:20 mark of the second quarter before the Red Dragons went on an 11-4 run to close the stanza.

“Any time you’re on the road on a Tuesday night, it’s tough,” Foster said. “They hit shots early on and played good defense. I’m just excited we were able to get the win on the road.”

The Quakers and Dragons slowed the pace a bit in the third quarter with the Dragons holding a 43-39 advantage at the end of the period. Then the Quakers started the fourth quarter on fire as they rushed out to a 7-0 run courtesy of a three-pointer by Trey Double at the 6:43 mark, followed by a basket by Turner Johnson. That is when the Dragons responded with their game-winning push.

Josh Young led the Quakers with 17 points.

“He is a leader for us. He’s the one guy who has the most experience out there in varsity game action,” Andres said. “We are going to lean on him. He played well and shot it well. Hopefully, he can get the troops to rally a little bit and keep working hard.”

Trey Double grabbed six rebounds, while Josh Lehwald and Niko Walter each had four assists.

The Quakers captured the junior varsity contest, 39-28. Kaden Russell paced the Quakers with nine points.

The Quakers will begin EBC play Friday when they travel to Canton South. Niles will host Boardman on Friday.

NILES: 16-16-11-22–65

SALEM: 14-16-9-18–57

NILES SCORING: Trent Johnson 0-0-0, Doug Foster 2-0-4, Cyler Kane-Johnson 10-8-31, Corbin Foy 6-6-22, Joey Corson 0-0-0, Vincent Chieffo 1-0-2, Robert Savin 1-0-2, Jalen Royal-Eiland 0-2-2, Chase Sudzina 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 21, 16-20: 65.

SALEM SCORING: Josh Young 5-5-17, Niko Walter 2-2-8, Turner Johnson 4-0-9, Josh Lehwald 1-1-4, Jaren Snyder 1-0-2, Trey Double 2-2-8, Hunter Griffith 1-6-9. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 16-24: 57.

Three-point goals: Niles 7 (Foy 4, Kane-Johnson 3), Salem 8 (Young 2, Double 2, Walter, Johnson, Lehwald, Griffith).