South Range makes short work of Salem

SALEM — Combining a swarming, disruptive defensive effort along with a season-high 27-point performance by 6-foot-4 junior post Chris Brooks, South Range set the tone early and went on to post a 66-42 boys basketball win over Salem in John Cabas Gymnasium Saturday night.

With the win, South Range improved to 8-4 on the season, while Salem is now 3-7.

“We had a good first half,” South Range coach John Cullen said. “Defensively that was probably the best first half we’ve played this year, but we’ve been playing good defense lately.”

Meanwhile, Brooks hit shots from all around the paint to lead all scorers with 27 points, while his South Range teammates Jaxon Anderson and Ben Irons added 10 points apiece. The Raiders had 10 players dent the scoring column.

“I just got it going early,” said Brooks. “I got some real nice passes from my teammates because they were all feeding me the ball and I got the most out of my shots. I’m a post so I just like to get offensive rebounds and put them back in.”

Cullen agreed Brooks is a picture of consistency.

“That’s how he (Brooks) has been playing, it really wasn’t anything unusual,” he said. “He gets the most out of his shots with technique and that kind of thing.”

Salem had no players reach double figures but leading the Quakers were Hunter Griffith with eight points and Niko Walter with seven, while Josh Young, Jaren Snyder and Cade Campolito added six each.

South Range, which possesses excellent quickness and passing, jumped on the Quakers early, as the Raiders went out to a 21-6 lead after one quarter.

“We came out flat after an emotional game last night,” Salem coach Jeff Andres said. “And obviously, they are good and they took it to us pretty good. They pass the ball really well and sliced us up in the first half. Our focus and our energy wasn’t there.”

On defense, the Raiders were successful in limiting Salem to one shot each time down the court and were successful in holding Salem’s dangerous outside threat Josh Young to no points in the first half and six points for the game.

“Defensively I thought we did a pretty good job on Young in the first half because you have to find him (due to his outside shooting prowess),” said Cullen.

The trend continued in the second quarter for South Range as Brooks, who scored 20 of his points in the first half, led the Raiders to a commanding 35-9 lead at the break. South Range also dominated the boards, 17-9 in the opening 16 minutes and forced 11 first-half turnovers out of Salem.

“We’re real close with each other and I think that carries on to the court,” explained Brooks of the Raiders’ excellent passing and court awareness. “We just swing the ball because we know each other and where we’re going to be and that helps us.”

“You have to give them credit, there’s no doubt they’re a good ballclub,” said Andres of South Range. “Coach Cullen does a great job over there and he’s got a great program going.”

Cullen said his players adapt very well to each specific opponent.

“They have really bought into to what the plan is for a game,” he said. “They get a pretty clear picture of what each game requires for us to be successful. We’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re working at it.”

The Raiders took their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter at 32 points (51-19) following two free throws by Brooks with 2:53 left in the frame. Salem closed to deficit to 28 points (55-27) by the end of the quarter.

As it has done all season, Salem continued to play hard and outscored the Raiders 15-11 in the fourth quarter to close the final deficit to 24 points by game’s end.

“We talked at halftime that the second half was going to tell us quite a bit about what we have here moving forward,” said Andres. “Do we have a shot to win the league and a shot to contend and win games, and there’s no doubt the effort was there, and that’s all you can ask for at that point being down by 26 at half.”

Game notes

¯ Brooks said South Range has one specific goal this season.

“South Range has never won a district championship, so that’s our goal this year is to get past Canton Central because we’ve never beaten them the past two years to get there,” he said. “So that’s our goal and we’ll go from there.”

¯ South Range won the junior varsity contest, 67-32. Eli Taylor had 19 points to pace the Raiders, while Isaac Allegretto added 13. Jaren Snyder had eight points to pace Salem.

¯ Salem is idle until next Friday night when the Quakers host the Canton South Wildcats in EBC play.

¯ South Range returns to action Tuesday night when the Raiders travel to Girard to take on the Indians.

SOUTH RANGE: 21-14-20-11–66

SALEM: 6- 3-18-15–42

SALEM SCORING: Hunter Griffith 3-1-8, Josh Young 2-0-6, Cade Campolito 3-0-6, Niko Walter 3-0-7, Luke Weingart 0-0-0, Turner Johnson 0-0-0, Josh Lehwald 2-0-4, Jaren Snyder 2-2-6, Trey Double 1-1-3, Luke Duncan 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 17, 4-5: 42.

SOUTH RANGE SCORING: Nate Brown 1-0-2, Luke Crumbacher 0-0-0, Brandon Mikos 1-0-2, Matt Lucas 0-0-0, Chris Brooks 10-7-27, Dante DiGaetano 3-0-6, Isaac Allegretto 0-0-0, Eli Taylor 0-2-2, Nick Matos 1-1-3, Jaxon Anderson 5-0-10, Sam Brooks 1-0-2, Ben Irons 4-0-10, CJ Brown 1-0-2, Nikitas Missos 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 27, 10-12: 66.

Three-point goals: South Range 2 (Ben Irons 2), Salem 4 (Josh Young 2, Hunter Griffith, Niko Walter).