After winning the region championship on Saturday, Salem hosted River-Ridge tonight and beat the Lady Knights 49-40 to advance to the next round.
The start to the game couldn't have been any slower for either team. It wasn't good defense just bad offense, but River-Ridge managed to take a 6-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After scoring just four points in the first quarter Salem got its offense working like it usually does in the second period, scoring 19 in the quarter.
The Lady Noles also played great defense in the period, with Saaliyah Greene acting as the catalyst for Salem. They would take a 23-16 lead entering halftime.
Salem extended its lead as far as 10 points, until star Ayanna Mitchell recorded her third foul and was pulled from the game with just under 3:30 to play in the third. Salem held strong without one of their star players, but the Lady Knights pulled to within three before Mitchell got set to check back in.
Mitchell entered the game with Salem up 38-32. Then Leonor Nickell hit a three and Salem turned the ball over, with the Lady ‘Noles up 40-37 with 2:27 left. Two Shay Tarver free throws and an Ayanna putback later and the Lady Noles were back up by seven.
Tarver kept attacking the basket in the final minutes and River Ridge either fouled her or she scored or both. The Lady Noles finished the game on a 9-3 run and beat the Lady Knights 49-40.
Salem will play Cross Creek next, a No. 2 seed from Region 2-AAAAA.