In Play with Tom Markowski

Salem's seniors continue winning ways as the Rocks reach district final with a 42-26 victory over Northville

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Salem's seniors continue winning ways as the Rocks reach district final with a 42-26 victory over Northville

 

Novi – Salem’s experience proved pivotal from the start as the Rocks shot to a 12-3 first-quarter lead and never looked back.

Shara Long had 20 points and nine rebounds to power Salem to a 42-26 victory over Northville in a Class A district semifinal on Wednesday at Novi.

“Rebounding has always been my strength,” Long said. “Twenty points? Wow. I didn’t know that. It doesn’t how many points I score. As long as we win. We’re tight. Playing together for four years makes a difference. I know that if Katie (Latack) takes a shot from a certain spot she’s going to hit it and I just have to get ready to get back on defense.

“This game we came out strong.  But the deeper we go in the tournament, the more intense the games will be and we need to raise our intensity.”

Salem (18-4), winners of 18 straight, will play Canton for the title on Friday at 7 p.m.

Canton defeated Novi, 38-26.     

Salem hasn’t won a district title since 2004.

Long, a 5-11 post player and one of five senior starters, scored six points in the first quarter then scored her team’s first six points in the second to give Salem a 16-6 lead with 3:12.

Salem led 20-8 at halftime.

Northville (13-8) lost to Salem twice during the season and in each game the Mustangs had a breakdown for a three- or four-minute stretch that cost them.

“I don’t know if (tonight’s game) was a case of nerves or what,” Northville coach Todd Gudith said. “From a confident standpoint, we missed some shots that if they had gone in would have changed the game. We could have worked with a six- or seven-point deficit.”

Salem (18-4) went on an 8-2 run to start the second half that put Northville is a deeper hole.

Hayley Rogers’ basket gave Salem its largest lead, 32-12, with 49 seconds left in the third and Northville never made a serious run.

Salem held a 33-25 edge in rebounds and, on the offensive end, Northville had trouble making shots, even when they were uncontested. The Mustangs were three-of-19 from the field in the first half and just once (fourth quarter) did they score consecutive baskets.

The backcourt of Latack and Jamyra Wilson controlled the tempo for Salem and didn’t allow Northville’s defensive pressure disrupt the flow.

“(Wilson) is the most underrated player in the state,” Salem coach Lindsay Klemmer said. “She’s a quarterback out there. She knows how to get to the basket. She knows how to get the ball to the open shooter.”

Wilson had just two points but had eight assists and five steals.

Sophomore Jessica Moorman, one of four underclassmen in the starting lineup, led Northville with eight points.