SALEM-Playing shorthanded, the Salem girls basketball team battled hard but simply lacked the firepower to stay with Marlington on Wednesday night.
The Quakers were held to five or fewer points in every quarter and fell to the Dukes 31-19 at Cabas Gymnasium.
Salem (5-12) was without leading rebounder Chloe Cheresne and key outside shooter Julia Dundon. They were among six players (four junior varsity) who sat out due to disciplinary reasons.
"I can't comment on the other stuff, but I thought we played hard tonight," Salem coach Steve Stewart said. "The players on the floor represented themselves very well. We just did not shoot the ball well tonight, we really didn't knock down any outside shots the whole night."
Tori Jones led Salem with five points, while Raegan Meals and Haley Carner each had four points. Marlington (11-7, 7-5) rode the hot outside shooting of guard Morgan Penird, who finished with 17 points on five three-pointers. Ali Rogers had eight points for the Dukes. The Quakers were, on the whole, pleased with their offensive execution but frusterated by the cold shooting.
"We did a decent job of getting the shots we wanted, they just weren't falling," Salem forward Tori Jones said. "We got a little flustered when they started pressing us on defense, but overall the main problem was our shots weren't falling."
Penird nailed two early three-pointers to give the Dukes a 6-2 lead that they would keep the rest of the night. She added another three in the second quarter as the lead incrimentaly grew to nine.
"She (Penird) put us in a hole early," Stewart said. "We had her covered in the scouting report, we just didn't do a good job of finding her and we paid the penalty for it."
"That's par for the course for Morgan," Marlington coach Terry Rowe said. "She's been our best shooter all year. She's capable of really hot stretches."
Salem crept within seven early in the third quarter before Penird slammed the door with two threes a minute apart that stretched the lead to 24-11. The Quakers found moderate succuess driving to the basket and getting to the foul line, but would trail by double digits the rest of the night.
"Tonight was a learning experience," Jones said. "I think we'll grow from it. We need to take the time to work on our shooting and learn from our mistakes."
Playing with little margin for error, the Quaker defense fought hard to the end with the bigger Dukes. Salem effectively shut off Marlington's transition game and made the Dukes work for their points. The Quakers surrendered only three points in the fourth quarter.
"We got back off of missed shots pretty well all night and I thought our half-court defense was solid for the most part," Stewart said. "We just let Penird get loose a few times and it killed us."
"We hustled very hard and did a good job fighting for rebounds and loose ball tonight," Jones said. "I was very happy with everybody's effort."
There was no jayvee game due to a lack of players. Three Salem jayvee players (Rylee Leider, Kylie Quinn and Ashley Foster) logged varsity minutes.
"The jayvee players really stepped up tonight," Jones said. "As a captain I was very happy with how hard they played."
Salem was held to one field goal in the second half.
MARLINGTON SCORING: Ali Rogers 4-0-8, Morgan Penird 6-0-17, Sierra Mayle 2-1-5, Alyssa Powers 0-0-0, Maelee Hall 0-0-0, Alayna Kennedy 0-1-1, Erica Buck 0-0-0, Sheridan Rummel 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 12, 2-4: 31.
SALEM SCORING: Olivia Stiff 0-1-1, Megan Lehwald 1-0-2, Tori Jones 1-3-5, Hayley Carner 1-2-4, Raegan Meals 0-4-4, Rylee Meals 1-1-3, Rylee Leider 0-0-0, Kylie Quinn 0-0-0, Ashley Foster 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 4, 11-20: 19.
Three-point goals: Marlington 5 (Penird 5).