The Salem Seminoles boys varsity basketball team looked poised for its seventh win of the season Tuesday night on the road, holding Cedar Shoals to just 10 points in the first half of their contest against the Jaguars.
Unfortunately for Salem, the second half had to be played. Cedar Shoals responded to its anemic first-half offensive output with a 24-point third quarter, leading to a 53-44 victory to drop Salem to 2-6 in region play.
Austin Samuel led Salem with 12 points, but Samuel’s total wasn’t enough to hold off the Jaguars who with the win moves to 6-2 in Region 8-AAAAA.
“The third quarter has been an Achilles heel for us all season,” Salem coach Noah Harrell said. “We played really well in the first half and we shut them down, but we didn’t finish on the offensive end in the second half.
“We knew that in the third quarter, they would start to hit some shots, and they did,” he said. “We just didn’t respond well when they had a run and we started making silly mistakes that allowed it to continue.”
Salem doubled up Cedar Shoals 8-4 in the first quarter and extended its lead to 18-10 at the half, outscoring the Jaguars 10-6 in the second quarter.
The third quarter, however, was where the momentum of the game turned, as the Jaguars came out after halftime scoring 24 points in the period, edging Salem 24-8 in the quarter.
Cedar Shoals narrowly outscored the Seminoles 19-18 in the fourth quarter for the nine-point win.
Harrell said that it was encouraging that the Seminoles are playing better, but he wants to complete the turn his program has started to make this season.
“When a team is right there making the turn as a program, that’s the hardest period of time to work through,” Harrell said. “We have to make that step. Against Rockdale, we allowed them to take the lead, but we fought through it and came back.
“Early on this season, when a team went on a run, they’d beat us by double digits,” he said. “We’re responding better, but there are still a few things here and there that we need to get right from the start.”
Quintavious Byrd and David Noble finished with six points each for the Seminoles.
Salem returns to action at home Friday against Clarke Central.
“I want to see continued growth against Clarke Central,” Harrell said. “Clarke is tough, but I feel like they are a team that we can match up with well. I want to see us continue to grow and take another step in our maturation by handing their pressure and the adversity we are going to face against them.”
Tarver leads Lady Seminoles
Shay Tarver led the Lady Seminoles with 29 points on the road Friday night, shooting 63 percent from the floor in a 65-23 victory over Cedar Shoals.
Ayanna Mitchell pitched in 23 points in the win, giving Salem its eight region victory of the season.
The win improves Salem’s record to 16-2 overall, while Cedar Shoals drops to 4-14 overall and 2-6 in region play.
Mitchell also finished with a team-high 14 rebounds, while Tarver dished out nine assists in the win.