There’s a lot of optimism for the 2013-2014 season surrounding the basketball teams at Salem, and both squads got off to a great start Saturday as the girl’s blew out Meadowcreek and the boy’s won a thriller in overtime.
The girl’s, who are trying to get back to the state playoffs for the third consecutive season, got 25 points and 14 rebounds from Ayanna Mitchell in a 79-34 victory in the opener. Mitchell, an unsigned junior who is expected to have her choice of Division I schools to attend, wasn’t alone on opening night. Fellow junior Shay Tarver added 14 points and seven assists, while seniors Taylor King added 11 points and Jennifer Tindi chipped in with eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Salem, which led 43-20 at halftime and 65-26 after three quarters, wasn’t perfect as the team made just 23-of-40 free throws (58 percent) and had 23 turnovers.
The nightcap was much closer and Salem edged the Mustangs, a state second round team in Class AAAAAA a year ago, 88-84 in double-overtime.
The Seminoles trailed for much of the game, but thanks to 25 points from Austin Samuel and 23 out of Kristopher Bridgeman, pulled out the season-opening victory.
“It was a total team effort, we showed a lot of (resiliency),” said Salem coach Noah Harrell, whose team is hoping to reach the state playoffs for a school-record fourth consecutive season. “We were down just about the entire game but hung touch and were able to come out on top. I’m really proud of our guys and it’s a good start to our season.”
The Salem girls will play Fayette County at Norcross High School Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., while both teams visit Newton Friday starting at 7:00 p.m.