Salem tried to give it away at the end it seemed. Something they've done occasionally in games this season, but something clicked tonight. Maybe it was the experience in close games Salem has had this season, maybe it was the thought of losing their third-straight game.
Whatever it was, it worked. Salem hung on to beat Clarke Central 69-65. Austin Samuel poured in 27 points, including a third quarter explosion that saw him go off for 12 points in the period. Samuel attacked the inside of the defense and knocked down a couple of threes on the night, flashing his complete offensive repertoire.
Michael Green added 11 points, but it was his ability to breakdown Clarke's trap defense that proved useful on the night.
In the halfcourt, both teams ran a different zone defense and they traded threes almost all game with Salem knocking down seven and Clarke Central putting in eight from behind the arc.
Salem led for almost the entire game, but the Gladiators were able to bring the game within two points with less than 25 seconds left before the Seminoles forced a turnover and got the ball back up 67-65 with 19.1 seconds to play.
Salem advances to 8-9 (3-4 Region 8-AAAAA) and will play at Loganville on Friday.
The Lady Noles also played tonight, but fell 59-49 to the Lady Gladiators.