CALCUTTA - The Salem girls basketball team gave Beaver Local an opportunity to win, then took it away.
The Beavers challenged the Quakers with a feverish fourth-quarter rally, but the Quakers weren't going to let their best effort of the season slip away as they pulled out a 31-30 win Monday.
"We just executed extremely well tonight, better than we have all season," Salem coach Steve Stewart said. "Defensively, we were just on the boards, so I'm definitely proud of them."
The Quakers (4-9) performed best in the third quarter with freshman Chloe Cheresne, whose three layups helped propel the team along with a three-pointer from Tori Jones to lead by seven after the third quarter.
"We fouled a lot which was part of the problem," Cheresne said. "We were scoring and running our offense and putting out the win."
Then, the Quakers found the Beavers in the fourth quarter with a never-die attitude as the Beavers' defense shut down the offense.
"We gave them a little bit of a run," Cheresne said. "We played a really good third quarter and had a promising lead, but then fell and then just pulled it out."
"We made some mistakes with the ball. We didn't handle the ball the best way we wanted to," Stewart said. "I told them, 'We had the lead, just take your time.' We had some passes that we shouldn't have forced inside that gave us turnovers. I gave Beaver credit, they had that spurt that gave them a little momentum."
As happened a few times this season, Cheresne led the Quakers with 12 points.
"It's an honor to lead the team," Cheresne said. "The players don't discriminate me because I'm a freshman. They've just accepted me as a part of the team."
Olivia Stiff also contributed with seven points for the Quakers. Julia Dundon added five.
The Beavers (2-10) were their toughest in the fourth and rallied with their defense and key scores by Ravenna Cianni and Jade Favre.
After Courtney Ricciardi was fouled, she went to the foul line, and her two free throws cut the deficit to one with 30 seconds remaining.
The Beavers tried hard to take the lead, but missed three shots before time expired as the Quaker defense held its ground.
"We couldn't have asked the girls to play any better than they did," Beaver Local coach Stephanie Coie said. "The only thing I've ever asked them to give was 100-percent, and that's what they did tonight. They didn't give up, they never let down."
Senior Sierra Wright also felt more positive despite the loss.
"We played together more as a team than the other games," Wright said. "Our shots just weren't falling, but we never gave up."
Cianni led with nine points, and Danna Talbott had eight.
Salem also won the junior varsity game 46-25. Kasey Jamison led the Quakers with 15 points,. Jordan Simpson and Alex Talbott each scored five for the Beavers.
The Quakers host United on Wednesday, while the Beavers head to Poland on Thursday.
SALEM SCORING: Rylee Meals 1-0-2, Tori Jones 1-0-3, Megan Lehwald 1-0-2, Raegan Meals 0-0-0, Julia Dundon 2-0-5, Haley Carner 0-0-0, Olivia Stiff 2-1-7, Chloe Cheresne 6-0-12. TOTALS: 13, 1-4: 31
BEAVER LOCAL SCORING: Danna Talbott 2-4-8, Sierra Wright 1-0-3, Jade Favre 2-2-6, Tannar Dolhun 0-0-0, Ravenna Cianni 3-3-9, Hillarie Ketchum 1-0-2, Courtney Ricciardi 0-2-2. TOTALS: 9, 11-20: 30
Three-pointers: Salem 4 (Stiff 2, Dundon, Jones), Beaver Local 1 (Wright).