Salem scraps with Eagles
HANOVERTON — The Salem boys basketball team apparently likes life on the road.
The Quakers won their eight road game of the season as they turned back neighboring rival United 52-43 on Friday night.
It marked Salem’s third straight win as they improved to 14-7 on the season. Eight of Quakers’ 14 victories this season have occurred away from the friendly confines of Cabas Gymnasium.
“I told the guys afterward I’m so proud of them,” said Salem coach Jeff Andres, who watched his team take its lumps with freshmen and sophomores playing last year to win its 14th game this season. “We have come so far, because a lot of these guys were playing huge minutes for us last year, and when you think about it we’ve totally flipped the script. We weren’t pulling this game out a year ago and now we’ve grown.”
Andres really likes the fact his team has thrived on winning road games.
“We came down here and were on the road again and that’s our eighth road win,” he said. “We’ve actually won more games and league games on the road this year than we have at our place. It was another good game for us.”
The triumph was also satisfying for the Quakers for another reason: It avenged a 45-35 upset football loss Salem sustained to the Golden Eagles in Hanoverton in November.
Salem’s starting junior guard Brock Young, who is also a starting receiver on the football team, was happy the Quakers left Hanoverton on the winning side of the ledger this time.
“We came down here thinking we were going to have a good game in football and they came in and whooped us, so it was good to come back and beat them here,” said Young, who spearheaded Salem’s aggressive defense Friday night.
Salem once again featured a well-balanced offensive attack, led by Jon Null who had a team-high 13 points, while senior Hunter Griffith had an excellent overall performance and added 12 markers, guard Drew Weir finished with 11 and Landon Cooper had one of his best games of the season with seven points.
“We were just attacking the rim,” said Griffith. “When we lost some games (earlier) we were setting up for threes, but we’re trying to get back to attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line. This is a huge rivalry (with United), it’s like coach says, it’s their Super Bowl. Our assistant coach works here and they are always ready for this game.”
Andres loves everything about how Griffith plays the game.
“Hunter is the glue guy for us,” said Andres. “He does so much for us that people in the stands don’t really see — it’s not only the rebounds but the assists and the passing, he does all those things and he’s a great communicator for our guys and he makes sure we’re where we’re supposed to be.”
United finishes the regular season with a 9-12 record.
“We just came out and put together as much of a complete game as we could,” said the United head coach Jason Thompson, who was very happy with the Golden Eagles’ effort considering they were going against a larger school which just won the co-championship in the Eastern Buckeye Conference. “We were really disciplined in trying to do what we wanted to do.”
Pacing United, which stayed within striking distance of the Quakers throughout, was standout Keaton Baker who had 11 points, while Ward Kiko added eight and Nate Miller and Grant Knight finished with six points each.
“It’s been a big rivalry for a while so every time we come down we know we are going to get their best game,” said Young.
Leading by just three points (35-32) after three periods, the Quakers went on a mini 4-0 run to open the final frame and stretch their three-point lead to a seven-point cushion, which turned out to be just enough. United drew within four points (41-37) following a three-pointer by Nevin Hahlen with 5:20 left in the game. But it was as close as the Golden Eagles would get as Salem outscored the hosts 11-6 in the remaining time to secure the triumph.
“We got a quick spurt there in the fourth quarter which helped, but give United credit, they played well and they finished around the rim well,” said Andres. “But I’m proud of our guys, it was a big rivalry game and I’m proud of our guys for grinding it out.”
“It (playing Salem close) definitely helps as long as we have the right mentality toward it,” said United’s Thompson. “I’m not one for moral victories but we played hard and I can’t ask much more from the kids. The competition was Salem and our kids were up for this one a little more than most. I hope our kids take a lesson from this in that if you take this kind of energy into the tournament, who knows.”
Salem held first-half quarter-stop leads of 15-11 and 24-20.
• Salem won the junior varsity game when Cam Jaquette made a layup with 2.5 seconds left to lift the Quakers to a 36-34 win.
Camden Sampson led the Quakers with 10 points. For the Eagles, Cody Cope had 13 points and Luke Courtney 11.
• United, the 18th seed, will travel to 10th-seeded Crestview in a Division III sectional tournament game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“They (Crestview) beat us by 18 early in the year but we’ve really progressed as the year has gone on, so I’m really looking forward to that (rematch),” said Thompson.
• Salem closes out the regular season Saturday night when the Quakers host the Western Reserve Blue Devils in an independent game.
SALEM: Hunter Griffith 5-2-12, Sam Walter 1-0-2, Landon Cooper 2-2-7, Jon Null 5-3-13, Brock Young 1-1-3, Drew Weir 4-1-11, Davin Koskinen 0-0-0, Cade Rohm 2-0-4, Ross Davidson 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 20, 9-19: 52.
UNITED SCORING Parker Berdine 0-3-3, Keaton Baker 4-2-11, Nevin Hahlen 2-0-5, Grant Knight 2-2-6, Ward Kiko 3-2-8, Brutus Ogilvie 0-0-0, Steffen Jarrett 2-0-4, Nate Miller 2-2-6. TEAM TOTALS: 15, 11-20: 43
Three-point goals: Salem 3 (Drew Weir 2, Landon Cooper), United 2 (Keaton Baker, Nevin Hahlen).
Total fouls: Salem 18, United 18.
Fouled out: Keaton Baker.