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Lady Seminoles get defensive
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The Lady Seminoles varsity basketball team held Apalachee to five first-half points Monday night, hindering the Lady Wildcats’ offense in a 63-19 region victory.

Apalachee’s 19 points was an opponent’s season-low total against Salem this season, as Shay Tarver finished with 16 points and five assists in Salem’s 20th victory of the season.

Rosie Kyles tallied 13 points in the win and Ayanna Mitchell and Taylor King finished with 12 each as the Lady Seminoles remained perfect in Region 8-AAAAA.

The loss drops Apalachee to 1-21 overall and 0-14 in region action.

Salem forced 11 first-quarter turnovers, jumping out to a 19-point advantage in the opening period before the Lady Wildcats recovered to score 14 points over the final 16 minutes.

“Tonight was probably the best game where we’ve maintained our intensity throughout,” Salem coach Rochone Dilligard said. “We’ve been up before, but a lot of times we’ll fall into a lull or take a few plays off, but that didn’t happen tonight. It was very positive to see that even though we had a large lead early, we were able to stay intense and stay focused. That’s a sign of growth for us this year.”

Salem rushed out to a 21-2 first-quarter lead, scoring the game’s first eight points. Mitchell started the Lady Seminoles’ scoring run with a 3-pointer at the top of the key and Tarver and Tindi connected on layups, pushing Salem’s advantage to 8-0.

Kiara Hooks ended the Lady Seminoles’ run on a putback layup with 2:40 to go in the quarter, but the basket was the Lady Wildcats’ lone field goal of the first half. Tarver hit a 3-pointer from with left wing with 1:45 left in the period and Mitchell scored four more points during Salem’s 13-0 closing run, going into the second quarter with a 19-point lead.

Tarver began the second quarter with a steal and a layup, but Apalachee went on a short scoring run of its own, going 3-of-4 from the charity stripe to cut Salem’s lead to 25-5 with 6:26 to go in the half. The points were the last for Apalachee, however, as Salem held the Lady Wildcats scoreless for the final six minutes of play.

Salem closed the second quarter on a 14-0 run, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from King. King finished a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc, sending Salem into the break with a 39-5 advantage.

Apalachee’s field goal drought ended 27 seconds into the third quarter on a Tia Carter layup, fueling a four-point Apalachee run after Hooks added her second bucket of the game. Salem responded with an 18 point run over a five-minute stretch after Hooks’ basket, pushing its lead to 60-9.

Tarver, King and Kyles scored six points each during the run, combining for three 3-pointers during Apalachee’s scoreless stretch.

The Lady Seminoles played much of their bench during the shortened fourth quarter, scoring just three points over the final six minutes of play.

Apalachee tallied seven points fourth, three coming from a Carter 3-pointer, bringing the final to 63-19 in Salem’s favor.

Hooks and Carter finished with seven points each for the Lady Wildcats.

Mitchell finished with eight rebounds, just two boards shy of a double-double.

Salem returns to action at home Friday against Flowery Branch for Senior Night beginning at 6 p.m.