The Salem girls' basketball team was just three points away this week from starting the second half of the Region 8-AAAAA season off with three straight wins and propelling them to the upper echelon of the league standings.
The Lady Seminoles had beaten Winder-Barrow 37-30 on Jan. 15, before traveling to Loganville for a 54-51 win on two straight road games.
The victories moved Salem toward the top of the region standings at 6-5 behind Clarke Central at 6-4 and Cedar Shoals at 8-2. However, Salem then welcomed the top-seeded Lady Jaguars to its gym and couldn't handle them for a 50-48 loss.
Ayanna Mitchell led Salem with 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting, but was the only Lady Seminole in double figures. Salem turned it over 18 times in the loss, its 10th of the year.
Salem hosted Clarke Central, another team ahead of the Lady Seminoles in the 8-AAAAA standings Friday night in a game that finished after press time. Salem finishes out the season on the road at Meadowcreek today before hosting Heritage on Friday and traveling to Apalachee on Feb. 5 and Gainesville on Feb. 8.
Heritage has struggled lately losing four straight before beating Loganville Tuesday.
The Lady Patriots fell to Flowery Branch 57-46 on Jan. 4, Rockdale 44-41 on Jan. 5, Apalachee 41-38 on Jan. 8 and Cedar Shoals 49-36 on Jan. 15, before facing Loganville Tuesday.
Heritage came out as the winners, 59-47 over the Red Devils, currently two spots ahead of Heritage at 4-7 in region play.
The Lady Patriots traveled to Gainesville Friday night and host Winder-Barrow Tuesday. Heritage then returns to the road against Salem and Flowery Branch on Feb. 5. The Lady Patriots finish the regular season by hosting Apalachee Feb. 8.