GRAY -- In its first two games of the Jones County Christmas Tournament, the Salem boys were two completely different teams from the free-throw line. In a Thursday win over Georgia Military, the Seminoles hit 18 of 20 from the line in a 68-62 victory.
Things changed in a hurry for Salem in a loss to Dublin on Friday. Despite 22 points from Dedrick Turner and 11 from Marques McKoy, the Seminoles were 12 of 27 from the line as the Fighting Irish won their third consecutive game and moved to 9-1.
"It's killing me," Salem coach Noah Harrell said of the free-throw problems. "Teams aren't beating us, we're beating ourselves, and when we start realizing that we'll become a better team."
The Salem girls welcomed back one of their top players in Ayanna Mitchell, as the Seminoles split the first two games of the tournament. Mitchell, who during the region tournament had an ACL injury end her freshman season, made her sophomore debut Thursday and had 23 points on 9 of 10 shooting in a win over Georgia Military.
She bested that effort Friday, collecting a game-high 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds and seven steals, though Salem fell to Washington County 73-69 in double overtime.
In the loss to Washington County, Shay Tarver added 17 points, Taylor King, 10, and Jennifer Tindi chipped in with seven points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Both Salem teams wrapped up the tournament with Saturday evening games, which ended too late for this edition.