“This one hurt,” said Salem coach Corbitt Hairston. “I thought this was one we could get, and the girls played really hard. I was proud of them.”
Salem led for much of the game. The Spartans were up 26-17 at the half, the most points they’ve scored in a half all season.
“They changed things up in the second half,” said Hairston. “They went from a zone to a full court man and turned up the pressure, and that got us out of our comfort zone.”
Salem still held on to a 34-33 lead after three quarters, but the Patriots scored the first six points of the fourth period and never trailed again. Salem was still in striking distance at 41-39 with three minutes on the clock, and Katie Evans had a good look at a three that just bounced out with about 20 seconds to go, and if that goes down Salem would have been within two.
“We fought to the end,” said Hairston. “It was our first close game of the year.”
The 44 points was Salem’s high for a game this season. Alla Daniel led the Spartans with 12 points and Deneja Hampton, playing just her second game of the season after coming back from an injury, had nine points and five steals.
Salem was just seven for 13 from the line, and that hurt down the stretch. Kendra Bolen was four-for-four and the rest of the team was three-for-nine in a close game.
“We had our chances,” said Hairston. “We’ll come back tomorrow and continue to work hard to get better.”
The loss dropped Salem to 0-10 with a game at William Byrd on Wednesday of this week and a trip to Pulaski County on Friday. Last Friday Salem lost to 8-3 Hidden Valley, 77-26. Amanda Woody and Hampton had six points each.