EBC showing no mercy so far

Salem’s Luke Duncan works around Carrollton’s Andrew Gotschall on Friday. (Photo by Gary Leininger) 

SALEM — Salem’s basketball team fell behind by 15 points in the second half, put together an incredible rally to pull within one point with 4:07 left, but Carrollton righted itself in the closing minutes to hold off the Quakers 64-56 in Cabas Gymnasium Friday night.

“I think the key for them (the Warriors) was shooting the heck out of it,” said Salem head coach Jeff Andres. “They were eight out of 13 (in three-pointers) in the first half and hit six of them in the first quarter.”

“I’m proud of my guys, they fought hard,” said Carrollton head coach Mike Aukerman. “There was a chance there where the flags were waving and things were getting a little rough on the ship but we weathered the storm.”

With the loss, Salem is now 3-6 overall and 3-3 in Eastern Buckeye Conference play, while Carrollton is 4-5 overall, but leads the EBC with a 4-2 overall record. There is incredible parity in the EBC this winter as any one of the seven members could legitimately win the league title.

“It (the incredible parity in the EBC) makes for some interesting nights for sure,” said Andres. “It’s going to be fun to go through the second round.”

Carrollton’s Aukerman agreed.

“I think anybody in the league could win the league,” said the CHS coach. “I told our athletic director, what happens if we’re all 6-6,” joked Aukerman. “But winning on the road is big.”

For the fan who loves the three-pointer, Friday night’s game was the one to see as the two teams combined for 22 treys, including 12 by the Warriors and 10 by the Quakers. Carrollton hit nine of its treys before half which helped it jump out to a 14-point (34-20) halftime advantage. But in the second half, it was Salem which was raining threes and it fueled the Quakers’ furious comeback.

Leading Salem in scoring was sharpshooting guard Josh Young with a team-high 17 points, including five three-pointers, while teammate Trey Double added 15 points, including a trey and Niko Walter finished with 11 points, including a pair of triples.

“Salem is very similar to us, they mix up their defenses and they have kids who play really hard and they have a couple shooters, and in the second half I was yelling at our guys, ‘hey come on, we’ve got to recognize those guys (on defense),’ “ said Aukerman.

Carrollton placed three players in double digits, led by point guard Drew Moore with 17 points, including four three-pointers, while Adam Chaney added 16 points, including two treys and Andrew Gotschall finished with 14 points and Jimmy Birong had nine, including a trio of treys.

Carrollton took a 15-point (45-30) lead when the Warriors’ Jimmy Birong drained a three-pointer with 3:29 left in the third quarter.

Undaunted, Salem never flinched and put together an sterling comeback, spearheaded by Young who had eight points, including a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter, as the Quakers pulled within six points (46-40) of the Warriors after three.

“In the first half I thought we were just settling for passing the ball around the perimeter, but we got after it (in the second half) and did a good job, we just fell a little short,” said Andres.

Salem’s comeback continued for the first half of the fourth quarter, and with momentum clearly on its side, the Quakers pulled within a single point (50-49) of the Warriors when Young buried a three-pointer from outside the top of the key with 4:06 left as the hometown crowd roared.

“They (the Quakers) made a great run there in the second half,” said Aukerman.

But Carrollton stemmed the tide, led by Gotschall who connected on six straight points. The run gave the visitors enough cushion at 59-51 with 1:58 left and forced Salem to foul to get back in it. The Warriors connected on four free throws in the final two minutes to hold off Salem’s comeback bid.

“I told the kids after the game that I was proud of their effort,” said Andres. “When you play as hard as we play, you’re going to have a chance and effort got us back into it. We made some shots but they (the Warriors) just made more plays than we did down the stretch.”

Aukerman was relieved to get out of Salem with the win.

“They (the Quakers) are a well-coached team that fought hard and we called a timeout with three minutes left and we’re up one and I told the guys we’ve got to execute and we had some sets and scored on all three,” he said.

The taller Warriors, who started a front line measuring 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 used an effective zone in denying the Quakers much inside in the first half as the Warriors took first-half quarter stop leads of 20-10 and 34-20 and setting up the dramatic second half.

Carrollton won the junior varsity battle by a 44-35 final. Kaleb Caldwell led the Quakers with nine points, while teammate Anthony Dimuzio added eight points. Griffen Bagozzi led the Warriors with nine points.

Salem goes right back into action tonight when the Quakers host neighboring South Range in an independent contest.

CARROLLTON: 20-14-12-18–64

SALEM: 10-10-20-16–56

SALEM SCORING: Hunter Griffith 1-0-3, Josh Young 7-2-17, Cade Campolito 1-0-2, Niko Walter 4-0-11, Luke Weingart 0-0-0, Turner Johnson 1-2-4, Josh Lehwald 2-0-4, Trey Double 6-2-15, Luke Duncan 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 10, 6-8: 56.

CARROLLTON SCORING: Drew Moore 5-3-17, Adam Chaney 5-4-16, Jimmy Birong 3-0-9, Tyler Boggess 0-0-0, Brady Benner 2-0-5, Andrew Gotschall 6-0-14, Gage Poole 0-3-3, Connor King 0-0-0 . TEAM TOTALS: 21, 10-16: 64.

Three-point goals: Carrollton 12 (Drew Moore 4, Jimmy Birong 3, Andrew Gotschall 2, Adam Chaney 2, Brady Benner 1). Salem 10 (Josh Young 5, Niko Walter 3, Trey Double 1, Hunter Griffith 1).