Salem steals the show
EAST LIVERPOOL — Columbiana County Div. II boys’ basketball bragging rights were on the line Thursday night when longtime county rivals Salem and East Liverpool met in Potter Fieldhouse in the fifth annual Kent State County Clash.
Trailing by 14 points entering the fourth quarter, Salem forced eight turnovers out of the Potters in the final eight minutes while outscoring the hosts 26-10 to pull off a 66-64 comeback win.
“We came back and pulled it out,” said a relieved Salem head coach Jeff Andres. “It (coming back from large deficits) is a great lesson to learn and we keep learning it. In this one we were able to overcome the hump and get the win.”
“We gave up the lead and turned the ball over at the end,” said East Liverpool head coach Nate Conley. “It’s killing me, man, because that’s our third straight loss with a lead with under a couple minutes left.”
With the triumph, Salem, now 12-7, won the Kent State County Clash traveling trophy for the first time in three years. The game is sponsored annually by Kent State University, which has branch campuses in Salem and East Liverpool.
Salem senior Hunter Griffith keyed the Quakers’ win with a team-high 14 points to go along with a key free throw in the final half-minute as well as a clutch rebound at the end to seal the win as East Liverpool was denied a game-tying basket at the rim with four seconds left.
“They (the Potters) were trying to get a foul, but I just went straight up (to get the rebound),” said Griffith, who never doubted the Quakers would come back in the fourth quarter. “We try to stay calm all the time, no matter the deficit. We’ve come back all season long.”
The Quakers had a balanced offensive attack as four Quakers finished in double figures. Following Griffith in double digits were Drew Weir with 12 points, including two of the Quakers’ six three-pointers on the night, while teammates Brock Young and Cade Rohm added 11 and 10 points, respectively, and Jon Null had eight markers before fouling out.
“That (balanced scoring) has been a theme for us,” praised Andres. “When we’re successful we have multiple guys contributing. Cade Rohm has been playing fantastic for us and giving us good minutes and Hunter (Griffith) is a staple for us and Drew (Weir) can shoot it.”
The loss spoiled an outstanding performance by East Liverpool’s Cole Dailey who took game-scoring honors with 26 points and 16 rebounds. Teammate Zavea Green finished with 16 points before fouling out of the game in the closing minutes. Preston Kerr finished with nine markers.
“He (Dailey) had another giant double-double,” praised Conley. “He’s one of the best players in the county.”
With the loss, East Liverpool is now 10-7.
East Liverpool played the game without starting point guard Devin Toothman who was out with an injury.
“We were playing the majority of the night with three freshmen on the court,” said Conley. “We were minus our point guard (Devin Toothman) who does everything for us, he’s averaging 18 points per game. We were down our two starting guards tonight but I was proud of our freshmen who played 32 minutes and they came out and fought.”
A total of 50 fouls were called in the game, including 26 on the Potters and 24 on the Quakers.
Salem trailed 54-40 after three and used its pressure defense to force turnovers and roar back in the game in the fourth quarter. The Quakers took the lead for good when Weir hit one of two free throws, giving Salem a 65-64 lead with 33.2 seconds left. After an East Liverpool turnover, the Potters fouled Griffith who made one of two free throws, increasing the lead to 66-64 with 14.4 seconds remaining. East Liverpool got to the rim to try and tie in the game in the closing seconds but missed and Griffith grabbed the rebound for Salem to seal the win.
“It’s been a long-time rivalry (with East Liverpool) and it feels good to bring the trophy home,” said Griffith.
“We have to be better, we don’t value a possession and we turn it over,” said Conley.
East Liverpool held first-half quarter stop leads of 16-10 and 31-29.
“The best thing we take from this is that everybody in the locker room was pumped about the win,” said Andres. “Whether they played well or didn’t play at all.”
East Liverpool rallied in the second half to clip the Quakers 43-40 in the junior varsity game. Jake Smith led the Potters with nine points. Ross Davidson was the leading scorer for Salem with 11 markers.
• The Quakers and Potters have quick turnarounds as both play games today. Salem travels to United tonight to face the Golden Eagles and East Liverpool has picked up a new opponent in Shenandoah. The Potters and Zeppelins will meet tonight in Sarahsville.
EAST LIVERPOOL: 16-15-23-10–64
SALEM SCORING: Hunter Griffith 6-1-14, Sam Walter 1-0-2, Landon Cooper 2-1-5, Jon Null 2-4-8, Brock Young 4-1-11, Drew Weir 4-2-12, Davin Koskinen 1-0-2, Cade Rohm 3-3-10, Austin Sinkovich 0-0-0, Ross Davidson 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 12-28: 66.
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Cole Dailey 9-8-26 Preston Kerr 4-1-9, Marquise Glenn 0-0-0, Zavea Green 4-7-16, Jamar Allen 1-2-4, Cam Beverly 0-3-3, Antoine Moman 0-0-0, Jerone Deal 0-0-0, Jake Smith 1-1-4, Mason Ludwig 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 20, 22-30: 64
Three-point goals: Salem 6 (Drew Weir 2, Brock Young 2, Hunter Griffith 1, Cade Rohm 1); East Liverpool 2 (Zavea Green 1, Jake Smith 1)
Total fouls: Salem 24, East Liverpool 26.
Fouled out: Zavea Green, Jon Null