AUSTINTOWN - By recent standards, the 2012-2013 basketball season was a successful one for the Salem varsity girls. The Quakers picked up eight wins, despite starting two sophomores in the backcourt.
It all came to an end Monday as the Quakers fell 60-33 to state-ranked Canfield in the Division II sectional tournament at Austintown Fitch High School.
"We have three seniors, but our guards are really young," Salem coach Renee Farina said. "With Canfield's pressure, that's tough."
Canfield won its 20th straight game to improve to 22-1. Salem had a third straight losing season for the first time in school history and finished at 8-15.
Canfield jumped out on the Quakers early, taking a 6-0 lead and going up as much as 15-5. Salem battled back and stayed in it, though, closing the first quarter down 18-13.
The Quakers made things even more interesting early in the second quarter, striking first with a three-pointer from Julia Dundon to pull within two, 18-16. It was short-lived, though, as Canfield's Rachel Tinkey answered with a three of her to start a 15-0 run over the next four-plus minutes, part of an 18-3 run to finish the half. That put the Quakers down 36-19 after two.
Canfield's run was triggered by its defense, which forced several turnovers - many before the Quakers could even get across half court.
"Going in, we knew that Canfield was going to pressure us. They're notorious for that," Farina said. "We lost our composure. We didn't handle the pressure well.
"They made it really hard for us to get into anything."
It was more of the same in the second half, with the Cardinals getting up as much as 56-28 midway through the fourth quarter before coach Patrick Pavlansky subbed out most of his starters to finish the game.
"They're a number one seed for a reason," Farina said. "They're so well-rounded. If you try to stop (Sabrina) Mangapora inside, they'll get you outside. Their role players are solid as well. They're a very well-coached, well-prepared team."
Mangapora, a 6-foot-1 senior, finished with 16 points to lead the Cardinals. Senior Abby Baker added 15 and sophomore Rachel Tinkey scored 13.
For Salem, senior Lindsey Foster had with 10 rebounds, nine points, one steal and one block. Junior Megan Lehwald added nine points and sophomore Tori Jones dished out three assists.
"We did have eight wins, and we tried to develop everyone," Farina said. "We hope that carries over into next season. We'll lose a lot of size and experience. Hopefully the younger girls are ready to step up."
SALEM: 13- 6- 9- 5-33
CANFIELD SCORING: Paige Baker 2-0-4, Ashley Kaleel 1-0-2, Kayla Barko 1-0-2, Lynnae Whitehead 0-0-0, Abby Baker 2-3-15, Rachel Tinkey 2-3-13, Jamie Giambattista 0-0-0, Crissy Gelonese 1-0-2, Allison Pavlonsky 2-0-4, Erin Risner 0-0-0, Savannah Barko 0-0-0, Sabrina Mangapora 6-0-16, Emily Ellis 0-0-2. TOTALS: 17, 8-13: 60
SALEM SCORING: Rylee Meals 0-0-0, Tori Jones 2-0-4, Megan Lehwald 0-3-9, Raegan Meals 0-0-0, Katherine Stiff 0-1-5, Julia Dundon 0-1-4, Olivia Stiff 1-0-2, Lindsey Foster 3-0-9, Ciera Trybend 0-0-0. TOTALS: 6, 6-8: 33
Three-pointers: Canfield 6 (Baker 3, Tinkey 3), Salem 5 (Lehwald 3, Stitt, Dundon)