CONYERS - In Saturday night hoops, visiting Clarke Central split a pair of sub-region games over Salem.
Salem 45, Clarke Central 44
Trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, the No. 5 Lady Seminoles (17-2 overall, 4-0 in 8-AAAA South) went on a 17-8 run to edge the Lady Gladiators (12-7, 6-2).
"It was just one of those clutch things between my coaching staff and my kids,"
Salem coach Bill Roberts said, "We stayed positive and kept working hard, and felt in the end that we could win. They listened and did exactly what I told them to do; they did it to perfection."
Behind 24-23 at halftime, Salem extended its deficit by the third quarter's end 36-28.
And down 44-43 with just 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Salem's Jaleen Thomas took a charge to give the ball back to the Lady Seminoles.
The unnoticed statistic certainly paid off.
Salem's Precious Elkins drilled a 10-foot jumper to give her team the lead and the game.
"This was a major win," Thomas said. "We were tired (entering the fourth) and made a run. We just had to come out and prove ourselves again that we are who we are."
Elkins finished with a team-high 19 points. Ariel Wynter chipped in 10, while Thomas recorded a double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds).
In addition, Thomas was 3 of 3 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
"I couldn't do it by myself - I had help from my team. We're a team; we all do it together. Without one another we wouldn't be where we were today, so it's not just me," Thomas said.
Clarke Central 54,
The Seminoles lost their 14th game and remained winless in sub-region play at 0-3 after another close deficit.
"We lost our composure down the stretch," Salem coach Darren Wilkins said. "But we were playing really well until then."
Salem's Anthony Armstrong ended with a team-high 12 points. Tevin Bradley and Shaquille Johnson each added eight.
Jason Murdock can be reached at email@example.com.