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Quakers conquer East Palestine

Salem’s Sam Walter dribbles up the court as East Palestine’s Jonathan Bertovich trails on Tuesday at East Palestine High School.

EAST PALESTINE — Salem jumped out to an 18-4 lead after the first period and never looked back in a 69-47 independent boys basketball triumph at East Palestine Tuesday night.

“We came out confident and moved the ball and did a lot of things that we talked about,” said Salem coach Jeff Andres. “We spaced the floor. Really, in the first quarter, we got every shot we wanted to.”

With the win, the young Quakers who have two seniors on their entire roster, improved to 5-16 overall, but four of growing Salem’s wins have occurred in their past 10 games.

East Palestine, which is also very young, is now 3-17 on the season.

“It comes down to effort and we just didn’t bring it tonight and we usually do,” said East Palestine coach Bill Stanton. “I don’t know what it is but we just didn’t bring the effort — they brought it and we didn’t, and that’s what’s going to change a game.”

Salem was led in the scoring column by 6-3 junior Hunter Griffith with 16 points, and playing his best overall game of the season was 6-3 Quaker senior Jaren Snyder who finished with 12 points and had a game-high 15 rebounds as Salem dominated the glass, and got many second-chance points.

“I just want to try and lead our team in positive ways,” said Snyder. “I try to be a leader for our team because we’re very young. I try to lead every night and be a role model for the sophomores and freshmen that we have.”

Andres loved the way Snyder performed.

“He (Snyder) played really well tonight and that was great to see,” praised the Salem coach.

Drew Weir, the Quakers’ 6-4 sophomore, also finished in double figures with 12 points and had two of Salem’s trio of three-pointers in the contest.

“The shots were falling tonight and we had pretty balanced scoring,” lauded Andres. “We had several guys get in the scoring column and we shared the basketball and played well.”

The loss overshadowed an outstanding performance by East Palestine’s sophomore guard Jonathan Bertovich who took game-scoring honors with 32 points. He was the lone Bulldog in double digits as Bertovich accounted for all but 15 of East Palestine’s points in the game.

“He’s a great kid,” said Stanton of Bertovich. “Not only is he a great basketball player but he’s a 4.0 student in school and in a bunch of extra-curricular things. “He’s a kid who is a great face for our program.”

Zion Figley was next in the scoring column for the Bulldogs against Salem with seven points.

The Quakers jumped on the Bulldogs early and set the tone for the rest of the game. With Snyder scoring six first-quarter points and grabbing five rebounds in the frame and Griffith adding another six markers in the quarter, Salem outscored the hosts 18-4 in the first quarter.

Bertovich started to heat up for the Bulldogs in the second frame, but Salem still outscored East Palestine to lead 38-20 at intermission.

The Quakers increased their advantage to 52-30 after three and took their largest lead of the evening in the fourth quarter at 29 points (61-32) following a layup by the Quakers’ Brock Young.

Andres played his backups throughout the final frame and emptied his bench with 2:15 left.

“It was tough but we’ll come in to practice tomorrow and try and get better,” said Stanton. We’re young, we have no seniors on the roster.”

Game notes

• Salem won the junior varsity game, 60-28. Logan Blissenbach led the Quakers with a game-high 21 points, while Ryan Rosen led East Palestine with 12 points.

• The Quakers will close out the regular season Friday night when they host United Local.

“We’ve labored through a long season but the guys have hung in and they’ve come to practice with great attitudes and come to have fun and play hard,” said Andres. “We’re getting a little momentum this last week of the regular season and going into the tournament that will certainly do us some justice.”

• The Quakers open Division II sectional tournament action next Tuesday at Canfield.

East Palestine will entertain the East Canton Hornets in an independent game Friday evening and travel to Wellsville Saturday night.

SALEM: 18-20-14-17–69

E. PALESTINE: 4-16-10-17–47

SALEM SCORING: Hunter Griffith 7-2-16, Sam Walter 0-0-0, Brock Young 1-0-2, Cam Jaquette 0-0-0, Landon Cooper 1-0-2, Kaleb Caldwell 3-0-7, Logan Blissenbach 1-0-2, Drew Weir 5-0-12, Davin Koskinen 2-0-4, Jon Null 1-0-2, Dillon Monroy 2-0-4, Jaren Snyder 5-2-12, Caden Rohm 0-0-0, Caleb Stockman 2-2-6. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 6-7: 69.

EAST PALESTINE SCORING: Tyler Bistarkey 0-0-0, Jonathan Bertovich 12-6-32, Brandon Turcola 2-0-4, Evan Smith 1-0-2, Weston Jones 1-0-2, Zion Figley 2-1-7 Thomas Shasteen 0-0-0, Payton Elliott 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 8-11: 47.

Three-point goals: Salem 3 (Drew Weir 2, Kaleb Caldwell 1). E. Palestine 3 (Jonathan Bertovich 2, Zion Figley 1). Total fouls: Salem 9, E. Palestine 7. Fouled out: none.

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