COVINGTON - While the Salem girls basketball team has earned the majority of the headlines this year, it was the boys team turn to shine Tuesday night as the Seminoles (8-16 overall, 2-7 in 8-AAAA South) overcame a furious late charge to down Eastside 64-60 in overtime.
Not that the Salem girls didn't fare well. Senior Courtney Hurt led a second-half scoring barrage as the first-place Lady Seminoles (18-6, 8-1) took care of business, defeating the Lady Eagles 72-40.
Salem 64, Eastside 60 (OT)
But the game of the night, maybe the game of the year, was the boys game.
The Eagles (11-12, 3-6) scored eight straight points in the final 23 seconds of regulation to force overtime, but not before Salem big man Zach Roddenberry had the game of his life.
Coming off a strong outing against Newton on Saturday, Roddenberry had four dunks, all in traffic, came up with five key blocks and converted five three-point plays on his way to a season-high 29 points.
"He's (Roddenberry) very much a rhythm type of guy," Salem coach Darren Wilkins said. "When he missed those couple of games, it kind of got him out of rhythm. But once he gets it, he really rolls. Against Newton, he got it going, and he kept it going tonight."
Eastside opened the game with an intense full-court press, and it worked as the Eagles raced to a quick 8-0 lead. Eagle forward Artis Clanton scored his team's 10th point with a thunderous one-handed jam, and Eastside looked poised to break it open early.
Down 13-2, Roddenberry answered for Salem with his first dunk of the night, sparking a 6-0 Seminole run to close the period.
Salem turned the tables on Eastside's pressure in the second quarter, capitalizing on Eastside's aggressiveness by breaking the press, and Roddenberry scored 11 points off the secondary break to spark a 20-4 run over the final 4:30 in the period. The Seminoles led 28-22 at the break
"We had some people playing in the press, in positions they don't ordinarily play," Eastside coach Michael Gerald said. "We were asking them to play a position they weren't comfortable with. I give all the credit to their coach and their big man. Those guys know where their bread and butter is. They'd throw it to him (Roddenberry), and we we're hanging on him, but he's so big and strong, we just couldn't stop him."
Eastside recaptured the lead late in the third quarter, but Roddenberry scored four straight points to put Salem back up three, and it led 39-37 going into the final period.
The torrid pace came to a grinding halt in early in the fourth quarter as each team managed just two points over the first three minutes.
Up 44-41 with 3:41 to play in regulation, Salem reeled of seven straight points while chewing up all but 49 seconds off the clock.
Gabe Mathis hit a 3-pointer for Eastside with 39 seconds left to cut the lead to seven.
After a Salem free throw, Eastside scored a quick layup to cut the deficit to six. A questionable offensive foul called against Roddenberry off the inbounds play gave the Eagles two more points, this time at the foul line.
Down 52-48 with 14.9 seconds to go, Eastside stole the inbounds pass under its basket and sank another layup.
Eastside fouled, but Salem missed both free throws, giving the Eagles a chance to tie with 9.9 seconds left. Dominique Hubert took the inbounds pass the length of the floor for the Eagles and scored a lay up as time expired, sending the game into overtime.
Eastside scored the first bucket in overtime, but David Raudebaugh answered with a 3-pointer for Salem, putting the Seminoles up one.
After an Eastside free throw tied the game, Roddenberry put the exclamation point on his performance, scoring five straight points and Salem seized command.
"It was a big win for us, even though we tried our best not to win," Wilkins said. "We've got to do better at the end of games. We just kind of panicked, but we got it."
Roddenberry's 29 points, six rebounds and five blocks led the way for Salem, while Tyone Elliot chipped in with nine points and six rebounds.
Clanton led the way for Eastside with 15 points followed by Mathis with 13.
Salem 72, Eastside 40
In the girls game, it was Eastside (4-16, 1-8) who came out of the gates looking like the No. 1 team in the region. The Lady Eagles used a mix of defensive pressure and an attacking offense to surprise Salem, and trailed by one at the end of the first period.
Eastside kept the pedal to the metal in the second quarter, outscoring Salem 13-12 to go into halftime tied at 24.
"It looked like they came out with a little bit more intensity," Salem coach Bill Roberts said. "We didn't run the floor in the first half and I told them at halftime, if you don't get out and run the floor, this is going to be a ballgame."
Salem started the third quarter slowly. But midway through the period, Hurt hit a 3-pointer to spark a 9-1 Lady Seminole run.
The Lady Eagles responded with five straight points, but as soon as it looked like the game might go down to the wire, Salem went on a 19-4 run to close out the quarter.
Turnovers and missed shots plagued Eastside in the fourth quarter, as it was unable to make a basket in the period until less than a minute to go. Salem outscored the Lady Eagles 20-6 in the final period to win by 32.
"I was proud of the girls, especially in the first half," Eastside coach Jason Grooms said. "We did a lot of good things. Salem is extremely athletic. We missed some easy shots and some free throws and that makes it hard to play defense. But I'm really seeing improvement, so that's encouraging."
Hurt led the way for Salem with 35 points and 16 rebounds followed by Rebecca Mitchell with 14 points. Ariel Wynter also recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.
Jade Cook led Eastside with 10 points.