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Shooting woes sink Quakers

Salem’s Hunter Griffith tries to put up a shot as Girard’s Ashton Pozega (15) defends. Girard’s Nick Stroll soars in to try and block the shot. (Salem News/Gary Leininger)

SALEM — Trailing by just four points at half, young Salem went cold from the floor in the third quarter while being outscored 20-8 and ended up dropping a 64-42 decision to the Girard in Cabas Gymnasium Tuesday night.

“You’re going to have nights like this, everybody has nights like this,” said Salem head coach Jeff Andres whose Quakers return just one starter this season. “We didn’t shoot it well and it seemed like they shot it well. And one of the things we usually do well is shoot it,” added the Salem coach.

The loss dropped the Quakers’ record to 0-2, while Girard won for the first time in three games.

“We’re young and they (the Quakers) are young, so I think the game came down to who gained more confidence in this game and I thought we did,” said Girard head coach Craig Hannon.

The Quakers stayed right with the Indians in the first half and trailed 29-25 at halftime.

But in the third quarter, Girard capitalized on many second-chance opportunities offensively while forcing seven turnovers (the Quakers had 21 in the game) and outscored the hosts 20-8 to take a commanding 49-33 lead after three.

Andres knows it’s a process with a young Salem team.

“We just didn’t play real well,” he said. “We were coming off an encouraging game the other night (at Minerva) when we played really hard and shot it well, but for whatever reason we did not do that tonight.”

Girard’s 6-0 senior guard Christian Graziano led the Indians’ offensive performance with a game-high 25 points, while Thomas Cardiero added 15 markers. “We don’t return a ton but we do have a senior point guard (in Graziano),” said Hannon. “I thought Christian took control tonight. This is his third year with us and he’s a good player and he’s been a really good leader for us with all these young guys we have.”

Salem, which started three underclassmen in its lineup, was paced by seniors Hunter Griffith and Jaren Snyder with nine points each, while sophomore Brock Young was next in line with six points. Griffith also led Salem on the boards with 13 rebounds.

“It’s certainly a process,” said Andres of his inexperienced team. “Hopefully we’ll learn from this, tomorrow we’ll watch the film and as I told them, being young we have a lot of room to grow and we have a huge upside.”

Salem got as close as 12 points (49-37) following a fielder by Griffith to open the fourth quarter, but Girard went on to outscore Salem 15-5 the rest of the frame and took its biggest lead twice at 22 points, including at game’s end.

“Our league is tough just like the EBC is tough and these non-league games are just to see what we’re about,” noted Hannon.

Things looked good in the first quarter for the Quakers as they jumped out to an 8-0 lead following a free throw by Griffith at the 5:44 mark of the period. But Girard went on a 12-4 run to catch the Quakers at 12-12 with 2:12 showing and the Indians held on to a 17-16 lead after one.

The Quakers regained the lead at 19-17 when Drew Weir hit a three-pointer at the outset of the second period. But again Girard retook the lead at 20-19 on a steal and conventional three-point play by Graziano, who had 11 points in the first half. The Quakers briefly tied things at 21-21 following two free throws by Weir, but the Indians outscored the Quakers 8-4 in the remaining time to take a 29-25 lead at intermission.

NOTES:

¯Salem rolled to a 69-41 win in the junior varsity game. Dylan Monroy led the Quakers with a game-high 18 points.

¯The Quakers will open Eastern Buckeye Conference action Friday night when they host one of the league’s preseason favorites in Alliance.

“Alliance is tough, they’re very athletic and they’ve got some kids coming back and it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us, but I have confidence that our guys are going to come tomorrow and get ready to work and take on Alliance Friday,” said Andres. “It will be good to get this taste out of our mouths.”

¯Salem will play its next four games at home including games against Alliance, Columbiana, Springfield Local and Marlington. The Quakers don’t have an away game until the start of the new year when they travel to Hubbard on Jan. 4.

GIRARD: 17-12-20-17-64

SALEM: 16-9-8-9-42

SALEM SCORING: Hunter Griffith 3-3-9, Sam Walter 2-0-5, Brock Young 2-1-6, Landon Cooper 0-0-0, Kaleb Caldwell 1-2-4, Logan Blissenbach 0-0-0, Drew Weir 1-2-5, Davin Koskinen 0-0-0, Kaden Russell 0-0-0, Jon Null 1-2-4, Dylan Monroy 0-0-0, Jaren Snyder 4-0-9, Caden Rohm 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 14, 10-16: 42.

GIRARD SCORING: Lorenzo Frigerio 2-3-7, Dom Malito 3-1-7, Nick Cario 2-0-4, Jordan Grant 0-0-0, Ashton Pozega 1-2-4, Bobby Alejars 0-0-0, Christian Graziano 7-11-25, Elijah Rodriguez 0-2-2, Ryan Fitzgerald 0-0-0, Thomas Cardiero 6-1-15. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 18-24: 64.

Three-point goals: Girard 4 (Cario 2, Cardiero 2). Salem 4 (Walter, Young, Weir, Snyder).

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