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The hope of cutting the nets ended with the heartbreak of semi-final losses for all three Washington County teams Friday night. 

West Washington lost at home to Borden, 69-51. Eastern, playing at Providence, fell to the Austin Lady Eagles, 44-31, and Salem travled to Charlestown and lost to Madison, 54-32. 

The following is a look at Salem's game against the Lady Cubs. 

Salem faced Madison in the sectional semi-final round on Friday night, and before the Lady Lions could even get going turnovers doomed them from the start. Salem committed 16 first half turnovers to allow the Cubs to build up a sizable halftime lead and coast in the second half to end Salem’s season with a 54-32 loss. 

Salem Head Coach Jerry Hickey said his team just really struggled with the pressure defense of Madison. “We knew we were playing them and their 1-3-1 hurt us last time so we practiced on it for five days. They didn’t run it one possession. They played 2-3 and put pressure on us. Pressure zone has been our weakness all year. We turned it over and that’s a tough matchup for us. They have owned us the last three times we’ve played them.”

Turnovers came early and often to slow down the Salem offense and allow Madison some easy points in transition. Sidney Burton got Salem’s first points to tie the game at two with three minutes gone in the game. From there Madison rained down threes to put Salem in a deep hole thanks in large part to 11 turnovers as well. 

An early jumper from Madison pushed the lead 18-4 to start the second quarter. Burton drove to the basket and Maggie Gibson scored in the post to try and give Salem some life but a few more triples from Madison made it 28-8 forcing Salem to call for time with 3:58 left in the half. The Lions found some answers on the defensive end going to a box and one defense to hold Madison nearly scoreless, but Salem still couldn’t get their offense going. The Cubs got a three to fall with just eight seconds left in the half to go into the locker room up 31-12. 

In the third Salem started to chip away at the lead. Threes from Alli Clodfelter and Burton made it 46-22. Salem cut down on some of their turnovers although they still had a few more than they would have liked. Burton hit another three to open the fourth, but Salem couldn’t dig into the lead enough to pose a real threat of a comeback. 

Hickey credited the Lions digging into the lead with Madison missing some shots and not pressuring as hard. “We made some shots and they missed some shots and that let us get back in it a little. They were 55% from three tonight. You are going to beat a lot of people shooting that most nights. They missed some in the second half and they didn’t pressure as hard either. We’ve struggled with pressure and they did that tonight.”

Salem will say goodbye to seven seniors this year. Hickey said this has been a pretty special class. “They’ve meant a lot. It’s hard when it’s your daughter and her friends. I’ve been with them since second grade. We are talking about 10 years of basketball with them. The fact they’ve stuck it through the whole time says a lot about them. I told them there are a lot of years that even if you have a good year you’re ready for it to end. I was not ready for it to end this year. They do everything you ask them to do, to the best of their ability. They did tonight too. They do everything right every night. Yeah I want to go 20-2, but it’s been a fun year overall and it’s hard to see it end.”

1 2 3 4 T

SHS    4 8 10 10-32

MHS 16 15 15 8-54

SHS Scoring: Clodfelter 3, Burton 18, Maudlin 4, Carey 2, Maynard 3, Gibson 2

MHS scoring: Davis 16, Montgomery 2, Owens 6, Dailey 12, Roark 4, Dart 3, McQueary 11

Threes: Clodfelter, Burton 2, Maynard, Davis 4, Owens 2, Dailey 2, Roark, Dart, McQueary

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