RAVENNA - Just because the Salem boys basketball team were the underdogs against fifth-seeded Ravenna Southeast, it didn't mean it was time to call it quits this season.
The seventh-seeded Quakers took the lead early on Wednesday in a Div. II sectional opener and after a dominant second quarter, the Quakers survived a late scare from the Pirates and knocked them out for the second straight year, 57-43.
"It's always nice to get a tournament win, especially being the underdogs," senior Max Wolfgang said. "We were just trying to build off of last year's tournament win."
The Quakers (8-15) earned Saturday's upcoming second-round game with fourth-seeded Ravenna after a strong second quarter showing from sophomore D.J. Pullie, who had a game-high 24 points, along with Wolfgang's 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Quakers outscored the Pirates 16-8 in the second quarter, and led by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter.
"We moved the ball pretty well," Wolfgang said. "We had a couple lapses on offense, we turned over the ball a couple times, but we were able to stay ahead."
Wolfgang did all of this despite nursing a foot injury.
"It's feeling better now that I've got some ice on it," Wolfgang said. "I just had that little scare when I went for that layup, going off on one foot which isn't a good idea."
Salem coach Rich Hart recalled last season's game against the same Ravenna Southeast team where the Quakers managed to edge the Pirates 54-52.
"We couldn't let them get off shooting-wise," Hart said. "We played them in the tournament last year, and they were up on us 10 or 12 in a matter of minutes because we couldn't get to their shooters. We felt we needed to be ahead at halftime."
Although the Quakers had that 10-point lead at the fourth quarter, the Pirates (10-11) began to build momemtum. After 28 minutes of struggle, an offensive effort from senior Jordan Krych and Kade Norquest closed the Quaker lead down to two points before the Quakers opened the lead wider.
Ravenna Southeast coach Matt Dillon noted this was a problem throughout the season.
"Four minutes left, we cut down their lead to two," Dillon said. "What's frustrating is we've done that all year now. We'll play average, then make a run but we can't seal the deal, and that was the thing tonight."
Krych led the Pirates with 16 points, while Norquist and Kenny Dillon both scored nine.
The Quakers, meanwhile, move on to face Ravenna, whom they knocked off last year 70-53 to get to the district semifinals.
"In the tournament, records don't matter," Wolfgang said. "We just got to go out, get that W and move on."
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Ravenna High School.
All of Ravenna Southeast's first quarter points were scored by senior Jordan Krych.
Salem and Ravenna Southeast both lost to West Branch during the season.
Ravenna and Salem are 1-1 against each other in tournament action. Ravenna defeated Salem in the first round in 2010 51-48, while Salem eliminated Ravenna 70-53 in the second round last season.
This marks the second consecutive season in which Salem faces both Ravenna and Ravenna Southeast in back-to-back tournament games.
SALEM SCORING: D.J. Pullie 9-4-24, Mark Fredrickson 3-1-7, Jake Bezon 0-0-0, Tyler Shaffer 0-0-0, Alex Weikart 0-0-0, Andrew Dolphin 1-2-4, Mike Popa 1-0-2, Trey Toothman 0-0-0, Ryan Hoover 3-0-7, Max Wolfgang 6-1-13. TEAM TOTALS: 23, 8-14: 57.
SOUTHEAST SCORING: Corey Proctor 0-0-0, Jordan Krych 5-4-16, Lucas Bloom 3-0-7, Carson Hughes 0-0-0, Kenny Dillon 3-0-9, Quinn Porter 1-0-2, Dominic Nicolino 0-0-0, Kade Norquist 4-1-9, Tyler Cheney 0-0-0, Brady DeRemer 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 5-5: 43.
Three-point goals: Salem 3 (Pullie 2, Hoover), Southeast 6 (Dillon 3, Krych 2, Bloom).