Dragons burn Quakers
SALEM –Despite overcoming a double-digit deficit in its regular-season opener, Salem came up just short against Niles on Tuesday, 49-47.
The Red Dragons got much-needed turnovers throughout the contest thanks to their tight defense.
The Quakers (0-1) trailed Niles 29-18 in the third period, before going on a 14-3 run. Senior Drew Weir knotted it up at 32 with over a minute left in the stanza.
Weir would tally a game-high 18 points. Salem also got 11 points from Brock Young.
“He’s a great scorer for us. He’s a leader and it took us a little bit to get him (Weir) going and that probably hurt us,” Salem head coach Jeff Andres said.
Niles (1-0) was led by Sam Perrone who scored 14 points and teammate Matt Kozak chimed in with 11.
“I think we played a little bit nonchalant. I probably didn’t prepare us well enough our first game. We had a lot of fumbled passes, we missed a lot of shots in the second half. They did a nice job switching up defenses on us,” Andres said.
“They were pressing us and getting physical with us,” Weir said. “We have to focus on rebounding, less turnovers, and controlling the ball better. That’s what we have to do before Friday.”
The Red Dragons were able to get to the charity stripe late in the fourth period and ended up going 6 for 11. Perrone had eight of his points in the final period, which helped put the game away.
“We have some guys who have played in big games. We have some veterans and we have to play better. I think there are going to be games going forward that are tougher than this one,” Andres said. “This is a tough one to swallow right out of the gate. We have high expectations this season. Hopefully, against Minerva, we’ll respond in the right way.”
Andres told his Quakers that a lot can be learned from this tough defeat.
“I asked the guys after the game, ‘how are we going to respond?’ You can tell a lot about yourself, probably more about yourself after a tough loss than you can an easy win,” Andres noted.
Salem beat Niles in the JV game, 67-32, as Dillon Monroy and Caden Swiger posted 15 points apiece. Keshawn Tolley had 11 points for Niles.
The Quakers will host Minerva on Friday. Niles will visit Champion on Friday.
¯Niles finally got its revenge after losing to Salem during the 2019-20 season, 60-45.
¯The Quakers missed seven of nine free throws in the final quarter.
¯Weir scored more points in the third quarter than the entire Niles team did, 10-8.
¯Salem beat Minerva twice last season, including a 46-45 overtime victory.
NILES SCORING: Sam Perrone 5 3-3 14, Matt Kozak 3 5-8 11, Robt Strickland 3 2-5 8. Nate Coats 1 0-0 2, Kross Naples 3 0-0 8. Keyshawn Tolley 1 1-2 3, Nick Arnaut 0 3-6 3. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 14-24: 49.
SALEM SCORING: Drew Weir 7 3-4 18. Cade Rohm 2 2-7 6, Brock Young 5 1-2 11, Caden Swiger 1 0-0 2, Dillon Monroy 1 0-0 2, Cam Jaquette 2 1-2 7, Ross Davidson 0 1-2 1. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 8-17: 47.
Three-point goals: Niles 3 (Naples 2, Perrone), Salem 3 (Jaquette 2, Weir).