DACULA - The Salem Seminoles may have been the No. 6 seeded team from the south region but they proved that they are not to be taken lightly, beating north region No. 3 seed Loganville 60-57 in first round action of the Region 8-AAAA basketball tournament Monday.
"A win in the playoffs is good. I've been preaching ever since I get here 'get to state.' Now we're four quarters away from it," Salem head coach Darren Wilkins said. "I'm very proud of the guys in the way they fought through adversary and kept going."
Loganville knew that they were in for a long night as Salem would not get discouraged as the Red Devils drilled baskets from 3-point range.
The Red Devils converted four treys in the first quarter to take 17-14 lead.
In the second period, Salem's defense started challenging Loganville's outside. Loganville stopped making as many 3-point baskets while helped Salem close the gap to head into the locker room tied at 30.
"We knew they could shoot it so we really wanted to go out there early in the game and press them but we just relaxed. When they backed up and shot it deep it caught us off guard. We called a timeout and had to remind them to get out there," Wilkins said.
With Loganville unable to get good, long looks from beyond the arc, Salem began slowing them down.
Offensively, Salem's Zach Roddenberry kept the Seminoles in the game, scoring 15 points in the first half. Helping him put up so many points was his free throw shooting, where he was 9 of 11.
Salem's turned their defense up a notch in the second half forcing Loganville to turn the ball over three of their first four possessions.
Salem took the lead with the first shot of the third frame, a Darius Ferguson 3-pointer, and held it until the five-minute mark of the fourth period when Loganville regained the lead.
Within a three-minute span the lead changed eight times. With Loganville focusing on Roddenberry, the Seminoles had to look for someone else to help them score. They found it in Jasijah Smith.
Smith scored all of his 10 points in the final eight minutes.
"The guys made some big plays. Jojo Smith came out and hit some big shots and big free throws," Wilkins said.
"Down the stretch Darius Ferguson made some big 3s along with Jojo. That's what happens when they put two three guys around Zach, someone is open."
Roddenberry paced the Seminoles with 15 points followed by Jarrett Brown (12) while Smith and Ferguson had 10 points each.
Behind six 3s, Justin Pitts led all scorers with 20 points with Clivins Volcy scoring 12 and Tyler Gunnett adding 10.
Before Salem can make it the Class AAAA state playoffs they must get past No. 2 seeded Cedar Shoals Wednesday at 5:30.
In the girls games, Eastside was the first team sent packing losing to Loganville 64-43. Rockdale joined the Lady Eagles on the sidelines after dropping a 64-39 decision to Dacula.
Eastside trailed 19-8 after the first period and continued to slide.
The Lady Red Devils pressed Eastside as they buckled under the pressure.
Even as the Lady Eagles adjusted to the press, their shots were not falling, putting them further behind.
Eastside's Raven Williams paced the court on the scoreboard with 16 points. Also scoring double digits for Eastside was Jade Cook who had 13 points.
Rockdale's problem wasn't adjusting to the pressure; they did that very well. It's problem was not being able to get the offensive rebound.
The Lady Bulldogs did not get their first offensive board until the final 3:27 of the third period.
Without getting second and third chances the Lady Bulldogs were unable to keep up with the Lady Falcons.
Rockdale trailed 16-9 after the first period, 31-20 at the half and 46-30 after three quarters of play.
Giovanni Sims was the only Rockdale player in double figure scoring 16 points.
SideBar: Region 8-AAAA tournament
At Dacula High School:
Salem 60, Loganville 57
Jackson County vs. Rockdale, late
Habersham Central-Madison County winner vs. Alcovy, 5:30 p.m.
Eastside vs. Clarke Central, 8:30 p.m.
Salem vs. Cedar Shoals, 5:30 p.m.
Jackson County-Rockdale winner vs. Dacula, 8:30 p.m.
Habersham Central-Madison County-Alcovy winner vs. Winder-Barrow, 5:30 p.m.
Eastside-Clarke Central winner vs. Heritage, 8:30 p.m.
Semifinal, 5:30 p.m.
Semifinal, 8:30 p.m.
Third-Place Game, 5:30 p.m.
Championship Game, 8:30 p.m.
Loganville 64, Eastside 43
Dacula 64, Rockdale 39
Jackson County-Habersham Central winner vs. Cedar Shoals, 4 p.m.
Alcovy vs. Winder-Barrow, 7 p.m.
Eastside-Loganville winner vs. Heritage, 4 p.m.
Dacula-Rockdale winner vs. Clarke Central, 7 p.m.
Jackson County-Habersham Central-Cedar Shoals winner vs. Madison County, 4 p.m.
Alcovy-Winder-Barrow winner vs. Salem, 7 p.m.
Semifinal, 4 p.m.
Semifinal, 7 p.m.
Third-Place Game, 4 p.m.
Championship Game, 7 p.m.