Lisbon unable to overcome Salem’s scoring attack
SALEM — The Salem girls basketball team is playing like it doesn’t want its season to end any time soon.
Behind a feisty defense and balanced scoring effort, the Quakers closed out the regular season with one of their most impressive games in a decisive 56-39 victory over Lisbon on senior night at Cabas Gymnasium.
Allee Davidson-Chuck paced the Quakers with 12 points, five assists and three steals. It was Salem’s second straight win since losing star forward Chloe Cheresne to a torn ACL last week.
“With Chloe being out, it was kind of sad that we couldn’t share this with her out on the floor, but I’m very proud of how everyone stepped up tonight,” Salem junior Allee Davidson-Chuck said. “It was a total team effort.”
Senior forward Helene Shontz added 10 points and nine rebounds while serving as a steady defensive presence down low as Salem closes the regular season 11-11 overall. Lisbon drops to 17-5.
Six different players scored at least six points for the Quakers, who shot 57 percent from the floor.
“We definitely played team basketball tonight,” Shontz said. “Everyone is starting to get used to their roles. As a team, we’re really starting to grow.”
The Salem defense asserted itself right from the start, as the Quakers forced a slew of Lisbon turnovers in the first quarter on the way to an 11-4 lead. Freshmen Elly Exline (eight points four steals) and Hayden Carner (six points) helped get Salem going with four points each in the opening frame.
“When we took the floor against United Monday, we were struggling to find out who we were,” Salem coach Vince Nittoli said. “I don’t know what happened in that day-and-a-half, but I think the excitement of senior night got us going early and we were able to sustain it for four quarters. Our young players are really starting to mature.”
A Shontz putback and two Davidson-Chuck three helped the Quakers stretch their advantage to 27-11 late in the second quarter. The Quakers used their size and length was able to successfully clog up the Lisbon offense. The Blue Devils were held to just six field goals in the first half.
“We knew that they were going to apply full-court pressure, and I just didn’t want to get in a running game with them,” Nittoli said. “We wanted to focus on our size and try to make them work around us.”
Lisbon was dealt a big blow in the second quarter when their best inside player Mackenzie Mason was forced to leave the game due to an illness. Blue Devils’ coach Jamie Entrikin said a good portion of the team has been feeling under the weather this week.
“The whole team has been fighting the flu, we’ve had girls in and out of practice all week,” Entrikin said. “Not that that’s an excuse. We didn’t play anywhere near our potential.”
Senior Karlee Pezzano was the only Lisbon player in double figures with 19 points. As a team, the Blue Devils shot 14-for-36.
“We didn’t attack the way we needed to as far as penetrating the gaps,” Entrikin said. “But Salem’s a strong and physical team. It’s good for us to play against a team like that going into the tournament. Shontz does a nice job plugging up the middle. We shoot okay, but we don’t shoot the ball enough to stretch them out. That’s the biggest thing we need to work on.”
Lisbon went into halftime trailing 27-18 and hung around for most of the second half, but weren’t able to get closer than nine points.
Freshman forward Echo Mayer-Kutz gave the Quakers some big minutes in the fourth quarter and finished with nine points and four rebounds. Sophomore Jessica Slocum added six points, while Ellie Davidson grabbed eight rebounds and came up with five steals.
¯Lisbon gets a week to rest and recover before beginning Division III sectional play at home against United Wednesday.
“We need to take a day to get away and get our heads straight and come in Friday focused and ready to clean up the silly mistakes we keep making,” Entrikin said.
¯Salem won the jayvee game 62-21. Jaden Hamilton led the Quakers with 14 points. Cadee Johnson led the Blue Devils with 10 points.
LISBON SCORING: Izzy Perez 1-0-3, Karlee Pezzano 7-2-19, Autumn Oehlstrom 0-0-0, Alexa Bell 1-0-2, Mackenzie Mason 1-0-2, Chloe Smith 2-1-5, Maddie Liberati 0-4-4, Alli Davis 2-0-4. TEAM TOTALS: 14, 7-17: 39.
SALEM SCORING: Elly Exline 2-4-8, Allee Davidson-Chuck 3-4-12, Leah Menegos 0-1-1, Katie Moore 0-0-0, Helene Shontz 5-0-10, Ellie Davidson 2-0-4, Echo Mayer-Kutz 3-3-9, Hayden Carner 2-2-6, Jessica Slocum 2-1-6. TEAM TOTALS: 19, 15-28: 56.
Three-point goals: Lisbon 4 (Pezzano 3, Perez), Salem 3 (Davidson-Chuck 2, Slocum).