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Salem rolls Rockdale on the road

Injuries weren’t enough to hamper the Lady Seminoles varsity basketball team Saturday afternoon on the road against rival Rockdale County, as Ayanna Mitchell led Salem with 22 points to roll the Bulldogs 64-31.

Mitchell rebounded from her lowest scoring total of the season Friday night against Loganville, and the Lady Seminoles were without forward Jennifer Tindi, who was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Despite the adversity, Salem persevered, battling back from an early first-quarter deficit to outscore Rockdale 26-12 in the second half. The Lady Seminoles held the Lady Bulldogs to a point in the third quarter, and Rockdale went without a field goal for over 10 minutes in a scoreless stretch that spanned over three quarters.

“We play hard on defense and it’s what we always focus on,” Salem coach Rochone Dilligard said. “We can’t always score, but we can always play good defense. Some nights, the shots just don’t fall, but we can always rely on our defense to keep us in games. We did a really good job on the boards tonight and that helped us get easy opportunities to score tonight.”

Leading 38-19 entering the third quarter, Salem went on a 13-0 streak to open the period, pushing its lead to 51-19 before the Lady Bulldogs scored in the half.

Mitchell scored seven points during the run while Shay Tarver, Taylor King and Saaliyah Greene also found the bottom of the basket during the streak.

Brianna Patton ended Salem’s run with a free throw at the 1:11 mark, but Rockdale couldn’t find its offensive rhythm during the period, going without a basket the rest of the half.

Rosie Kyles ended the quarter with a free throw, extending Salem’s lead to 52-20 heading into the final quarter of play.

Rockdale hit its first field goal since the 4:49 mark in the second quarter with 4:30 to go in the fourth. Casera Howard drained a 3-pointer from the right wing, part of her eight points in the period, ending’s the Lady Bulldogs' scoreless streak.

Patton hit a pair at the charity stripe and Howard hit consecutive shots, including another 3-pointer, to pull Rockdale within 30, but Paris Scott and Daijah Whitfield converted a pair of layups in the final two minutes to seal the 33-point win.

“In our man-to-man, zone or pressing defenses, we tell the girls that we have to be strong and we have to be solid,” Dilligard said. “That’s what we did during the run where we held them without a field goal. A lot of times, teams will put pressure on themselves when we start getting on a run, and it causes them to do things they don’t want to do and it snowballs from there. If we are where we are supposed to be, and do what we are supposed to do, it’s tough for teams to score on us.”

The Lady Bulldogs got off to a good start, jumping out to a 6-2 lead.

Sydney Fields led Rockdale off with a block on the Lady Seminoles’ opening possession and a layup on the other end, and Patton added an elbow jumper that put Rockdale ahead 4-2.

Salem battled back, taking an 8-7 lead after Mitchell scored on a putback and two free throws. The Lady Seminoles ended the quarter on a 16-7 run, using consecutive 3-pointers from Greene and Kyles to close the first quarter with a 24-14 advantage.

Salem doubled up the Lady Bulldogs 32-16 in the second quarter, ending an 8-2 run on a Kyles’ end-to-end layup. Rockdale scored just five points in the period, hitting its last field goal of the half with 4:49 left in the period on a Patton jumper.

"The first quarter we played solidly, but in the second, we started to get away from our game plan," Rockdale coach Gladys King said. "Salem is a great team and they're very aggressive. All respect to them, but I thought we didn't come with our 'A-game' and we didn't match their aggressiveness tonight."

Tarver finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Greene finished with nine points for the Lady Seminoles. Mitchell also grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, helping Salem to its 13th consecutive win.

Patton finished as Rockdale’s leading scorer with 12 points.

Friday results

The Lady Seminoles earned a 46-26 victory over Loganville Friday night, limiting the Lady Red Devils to three points in the opening quarter.

Salem led just 5-3 after the first eight minutes, but outscored Loganville 19-9 in the second period to carry a 24-12 advantage into halftime.

The Lady Seminoles held Loganville to single digits again in the third quarter, using a 10-4 advantage to take an 18-point advantage into the final period of play.

Salem held on for a 12-10 fourth-quarter advantage, winning the region contest by 20.

Kyles led Salem with 13 points in the win, while King joined her teammate in double figures with 10 points. Tarver finished with nine points and five assists, while Mitchell had five points and 12 rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs fared better in region action Friday night, outlasting Luella 48-44.

Rockdale trailed 13-10 after the first quarter, but outscore the Lady Lions 18-5 in the second period. The Lady Bulldogs edged Luella by a point in the third, and had to withstand a 17-point fourth quarter from the Lady Lions to hold on for the region win.

Fields finished with 14 points for the Lady Bulldogs, while Patton had 10 points, including eight in the second half.