Girls rally to take 1st place
SALEM – The Salem High girls took sole possession of first place in the River Ridge District basketball standings with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Hidden Valley Tuesday. Salem won 39-33 at the SHS gym.
With the win the Spartans are now 4-0 in district play and 10-5 overall. Salem is the only team still undefeated in district games, as the Titans dropped to 4-1 with Tuesday’s loss.
For the first half, it didn’t appear the Spartans were going to take the district lead. Salem scored just seven points in falling behind 16-7 at the half. Salem, who has a few girls battling illness, couldn’t use germs as an excuse for missing layups and open shots in a frustrating first half.
“I think they were just putting too much pressure on themselves,” said Salem coach DeWayne Harrell. “They were pressing instead of just going out there and having fun.”
Harrell didn’t light into them at halftime. In fact, he took quite the opposite approach.
“It told them it’s a simple game, just keep playing basketball and everything will be fine,” he said. “One good thing is that they weren’t blaming each other. Then they came out in the second half and played like a team.”
Tessa Foley scored on Salem’s first possession of the second half, then Maddie Price hit a three and Foley scored again. Tay Taylor tied the game with a running banker and then Amanda Dalton was fouled, sinking one of two as Salem scored the first 10 points of the second half to take a 17-16 lead.
From there it was nip-and-tuck, but Salem continued to play good defense and pulled it out. Kim Migliarese, who had an upset stomach, gave Titan shooting star Tyler Evans all she could handle. Evans finished with 13 but had to earn every point with Migliarese hounding her up and down the court.
Taylor led Salem with 14 points and five assists. Foley had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Carlye Garst also had 10 boards.
Salem also beat an improving Christiansburg in Christiansburg last Friday , 68-50. The Blue Demons hung tough for a quarter, trailing 13-12 after the first eight minutes, but Salem won the second period 24-15 to open a 10 point halftime lead. Taylor had 15 points, Price had 14, and Garst had 13 in a balanced Salem attack.
The Spartans will close out the first half of the district season with a Friday night home game against Pulaski. Next Tuesday they play at Cave Spring to start the second half.
“Now it’s in our hands,” said Harrell. “As long as we keep winning no one can catch us. This is about the time we got hot last year and I’d like to see it happen again.”