Category Archives: Salem

Brighton gets to the D2 North finals after 84-68 win over #1 seed Salem

Mykel Derring (17 points) hit four 3's in the final quarter including this one.

Mykel Derring (17 points) hit four 3’s in the final quarter including this one.

Jordan Galloway (23 points) turned in seventeen points in the second quarter including three 3's

Jordan Galloway (23 points) turned in seventeen points in the second quarter including three 3’s

(Beverly MA) No let up from Brighton as they rolled past Salem, 84-68, in the D2 North semifinals on Thursday night.

The Bengals (16-8) put a 45-20 second half on Danvers in the quarterfinals on their way to ending the Falcons 30-game home winning streak. They were just as good against the Witches (21-3) and gained separation in the early going.

Speed, accuracy, and a steady influx of rested bodies enabled Brighton to put points together in a hurry.

Salem was plenty fast but there was very little rest for their starters. Tiredness often shows up on defense and the Bengals had more and more open looks as the game progressed.

It surely helped the Brighton cause to have Jordan Galloway (23 points) catch fire in the second quarter and Mykel Derring (17 points) do the same thing in the fourth quarter.

Jordan collected seventeen of his points in the second quarter hitting three 3’s and powering the Bengals to a commanding 49-28 halftime lead.

Mykel had four three’s in the final quarter. His accuracy in the late game kept Salem from ever getting closer than eleven points.

Alex Sanchez (28 points) with Bengals everywhere

Alex Sanchez (28 points) with Bengals everywhere

This was my first look at Salem’s Alex Sanchez. Talk about fast! He broke by and between some awfully good Brighton defenders to get to the rim. Most 5’6” players live long range but not Alex. He would dart to the rim without any encouragement.

This was a game played at such a pace that there actually were few fouls called. The shots went up that quickly for both squads.

Numerous Brighton players attempted to cover Alex Sanchez. In one of my pictures BHS coach Hugh Coleman looks as if he’s also part of the Bengals defense on Alex.

BHS coach Hugh Coleman exhorting his team to contain Alex Sanchez

BHS coach Hugh Coleman exhorting his team to contain Alex Sanchez

Good, loud crowd for both teams. The game’s start was delayed so that the Brighton fan bus could arrive.

Brighton took Salem out of the tournament last season in the quarterfinals.

The Bengals will now take on New Mission in the D2 North finals on Saturday. Brighton lost to New Mission, 85-70, on January 8th.

Brighton boxscore (Jordan Galloway should have 23 pts)

Salem boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Mykel Derring (17 points)

Mykel Derring (17 points)

Jonathan Casseus

Jonathan Casseus

Jordan Galloway tries guarding Alex Sanchez

Jordan Galloway tries guarding Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez covers Laqu Howard

Alex Sanchez covers Laqu Howard

Johnny Ortiz leads a break

Johnny Ortiz leads a break

Ricky Arias (17 points and 13 rebounds)

Ricky Arias (17 points and 13 rebounds)

Jordan Galloway (#4) sets up teammate Jordan Diaz

Jordan Galloway (#4) sets up teammate Jordan Diaz

Alex Sanchez (28 points)

Alex Sanchez (28 points)

Action on the rim

Action on the rim

Tyrone Perry congratulated at hafltime after tossing in a long buzzer-beater

Tyrone Perry congratulated at halftime after tossing in a long buzzer-beater

Izaiah Winston-Brooks in the closing seconds

Izaiah Winston-Brooks in the closing seconds

Tyrone Perry set to block Kelven Perpetuo

Tyrone Perry set to block Kelven Perpetuo

Brighton huddle

Brighton huddle

Jhonel Roberts skies for a rebound

Jhonel Roberts skies for a rebound

 

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Beverly Girls take down Salem 56-46 in D1 North first round

Melissa Lubas (15 points) had a solid all-around game for the victorious Panthers

Melissa Lubas (15 points) had a solid all-around game for the victorious Panthers

Beverly starts to celebrate

Beverly starts to celebrate

(Salem MA) This was anyone’s game until Beverly put fourteen unanswered points together in the second half and defeated Salem, 56-46, in Division 1 North first round action on Wednesday night.

The Panthers (15-6) will play the winner of the Woburn/Arlington game.

Ashley Augulewicz (16), Melissa Lubas (15), and Natalie Mellinger (15) all had double figures for the Panthers.  Brianna Rodriguez (15) and Jackie Panneton (12) paced Salem.

Beverly was intent on keeping the ball away from overpowering Jackie Panneton on the inside while Salem (14-7) wanted to heavily defend Beverly’s long-range shooters.  Both succeeded.  The difference was that Salem didn’t have the outside accuracy to compensate for the shutdown inside game.  Beverly, on the other hand, shot fewer 3’s but took the ball to the basket for scores or fouls.

Ashley Augulewicz (16 points) gets two

Ashley Augulewicz (16 points) gets two

By attacking the basket the Panthers earned twenty-nine free throws.  Fouls eliminated key Salem performers Rachel Zipper with over 5+ minutes left and Brianna Rodriguez with 1 ½ left.

The two teams had split their two meetings during the regular season and tonight’s game ended up at Salem because they won a coin toss.  It figured to be a close game and with three minutes left in the third quarter that is exactly what it was, 32-32.

The next seven minutes of playing time, stretching into the 4th quarter, were all Beverly.  The visitors registered fourteen straight points and the Witches never recovered after trailing 46-32.

In the breakaway segment senior Ashley Augulewicz converted two rebounds and had a layup off a nice assist from teammate Jess Cross.  Sophomore Natalie Mellinger drained two three’s from in front of the Panthers’ cheering section.  Junior Melissa Lubas added a drive-and-one that fouled Salem senior Rachel Zipper out of the game.

Beverly tries to keep the ball away from 1000-point scorer Jackie Panneton

Beverly tries to keep the ball away from 1000-point scorer Jackie Panneton

The eventual final outcome seemed unlikely to those of us on hand for the first quarter.  Beverly was determined to launch long ones and Salem’s defense wouldn’t allow it.  Meanwhile it was Salem making 3’s (two by Rachel Zipper in the first quarter) and getting the ball inside on occasion to Jackie Panneton (4 points).  Salem led 14-6 after a quarter.

Beverly started the second quarter with ten straight (six points by Natalie Mellinger) and got the lead but Salem answered with seven straight including a three by junior Nicole Sadoway to retake the lead.  Salem was in front 23-21 at the half.

In the third quarter the teams worked themselves into a 32-32 tie before Salem suffered a disastrous drought and never recovered.

Brianna Rodriguez tallied ten points for the Witches in the final quarter but Beverly made eight-of-eleven free throws to carry off the win.

I was impressed with the play of junior Melissa Lubas of Beverly.  She had a few more turnovers in the front court than I would have liked in a point guard but everything else was very good.  Head-up dribbling, long-range passing, rebounding, and 9-for-10 free throw shooting are a nice collection of positives.

Rachel Zipper drives on Oliva George

Rachel Zipper drives on Oliva George

Beverly had lost three of their last four.  They do have wins over the division leaders (Revere and Winthrop) in the Northeast Conference.

Beverly coach Allison Flynn played her high school basketball for Salem.

Jackie Panneton scored her 1000th point in Salem’s last game of the season.

Beverly box

Salem box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jess Cross breaks in

Jess Cross breaks in

loose ball

loose ball

Melissa Lubas looks for someone to pass to

Melissa Lubas looks for someone to pass to

Brianna Rodriguez (15 points) cuts through

Brianna Rodriguez (15 points) cuts through

Freshman Emily Fabre shoots from the corner

Freshman Emily Fabre shoots from the corner

Melissa Lubas made nine-of-ten free throws

Melissa Lubas made nine-of-ten free throws

 

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Salem rallies to beat Brighton 60-58 in overtime in D2 North

Rashad Keys (#1), Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (#23), David Kazadi (#5), and Jamie Dominguez (#3) celebrate win over Brighton

Rashad Keys (#1), Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (#23), David Kazadi (#5), and Jamie Dominguez (#3) celebrate win over Brighton

(Salem MA) A year ago at the same site in a game between the same teams Brighton pulled away from Salem in the second half and won convincingly, 82-61.  The Bengals went on from there to become the Division 2 state champs.

This time around (Friday night) Brighton pulled away in the third quarter, leading by as many as thirteen points, but couldn’t hold the lead.  Salem caught up late in the fourth quarter and won in overtime, 60-58, in a Division 2 North First Round game.

Jamie Dominguez lines up the free throw in overtime that turned into three crucial points.

Jamie Dominguez lines up the free throw in overtime that turned into three crucial points.

Salem’s foul shooting was downright frightening (2-for-13) but in overtime that bad foul shooting helped produce the game winning points.  How, you ask? The Witches’ Jamie Dominguez went to the line with seventeen seconds left in OT shooting a one-and-one.  Salem was clinging to a one-point lead (57-56) at the time. When Jamie missed the front end, Brighton failed to react by blocking out and the rebound came right back to Jamie.  In an area where guards (like Jamie) get their shots blocks, Jamie wasted no time putting the ball back toward the basket with his left hand.  Off the backboard the shot went and in, and Jamie was fouled as well.  This time Jamie made the free throw and Salem suddenly had its biggest lead of the game, 60-56, and Brighton did not recover.

Salem hadn’t played in nine days and it showed.  Besides the scary free throw shooting there were also twenty-one turnovers through three quarters.

To say that the Witches (17-4) were fortunate to be anywhere near Brighton after three quarters is a huge understatement.  But they were because Brighton had sixteen turnovers through three quarters themselves.

Mark Mujica drives the lane

Mark Mujica drives the lane

The key to the Salem win, in my opinion, was the tempo change that Brighton opted for after they had the double-digit lead in the second half.  It was almost as if they tried to run out the clock too early.  They would pass the ball around the perimeter against Salem’s 3-2 zone and launch a long one late in the shot clock.  When things were going well for the Bengals they ran their way into good looks and were aggressive in their half-court offense.

Senior Rashad Keys (21 points) made several big plays for Salem in the overtime.  He started the scoring with a three from the corner.  Later with less than thirty seconds left, and Salem only up by one (57-56), Rashad blocked the shot of driving Mark Mojica.

Brighton (11-11) looked sharp early, jumping in front, 11-4.  Senior Mark Mojica (16 points) had two 3’s and a layup off a Salem turnover in the early going.

The Witches were able to come all the way back (21-19) with a 10-2 run.  Rashad Keys took a turnover in for a rousing dunk during this segment.

Javaughn Edmonds gets double-teamed

Javaughn Edmonds gets double-teamed

Salem had a 28-27 lead in the first minute of the second half before falling apart for three minutes of playing time.  While Salem had four turnovers and two missed free throws, the visitors ran fourteen straight points.  Freshman Javaughn Edmonds (14 points) collected five points and Mark Mojica added seven including a 4-point play.

Brighton now had a 41-28 cushion that was even bigger (46-33) when Javaughn hit a three and took a turnover in for two with three minutes left in the third quarter.

This was where I thought the Brighton tempo changed.  The Bengals got deliberate and the Witches became much more active on offense getting second chances and making layups.

A run of eight straight put Salem within four (47-43) two minutes into the final quarter.  A three by freshman Tyrone Perry stopped the bleeding momentarily before the Witches went on a 9-2 run to tie the score at 52-52 with 1:50 left.  A 3-point shot from the corner by Rashad Keys was the tying hoop.

Mark Mujica (16 points) and Jamie Dominguez (17 points)

Mark Mujica (16 points) and Jamie Dominguez (17 points)

Mark Mujica gave Brighton a 2-point lead but Jamie Dominguez (17 points) answered with a jump shot in the last twenty seconds.  Mark Mujica had a shot in the lane in the closing seconds of regulation but it wouldn’t fall.  Overtime went Salem’s way and they will advance to play #6 seed Belmont on March 3rd.

David Kazadi (12 points) and Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (10 points) also reached double figures for Salem.

Jason Jones had thirteen points for Brighton while Tyrone Perry added three 3’s.

Salem box

Brighton box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

David Kazadi gets a rebound

David Kazadi gets a rebound

Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (10 points) puts back a rebound

Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (10 points) puts back a rebound

Rashad Keys scores a three early in overtime

Rashad Keys scores a three early in overtime

Tyrone Perry shoots from the corner

Tyrone Perry shoots from the corner

Kelven Perpetuo tries a layup

Kelven Perpetuo tries a layup

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Salem holds off previously undefeated Danvers 41-38

Jamie Dominguez (11 points) hit clutch free throws vs Danvers

Jamie Dominguez (11 points) hit clutch free throws vs Danvers

Devan Harris lines up the last shot of the game

Devan Harris lines up the last shot of the game

(Salem MA) It wasn’t pretty but it was plenty exciting!

Salem held off formerly undefeated Danvers, 41-38, before an excellent weekday crowd on Tuesday night.

Danver’s Devan Harris took the last shot…….a three from the right corner that rimmed out with a second left.  If that goes the game would have gone into overtime, but instead Rashad Keys of Salem secured the rebound and the Witches had the win.

This game was low in scoring but abundant in miscues.  Bad passing decisions caused many of the forty-one turnovers (21 Danvers, 20 Salem) that I unofficially totaled.

Danvers (8-1) started fast getting the game’s first seven points and later building a 19-10 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.

Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (10 points) and David Kazadi (10 points)

Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez (10 points) and David Kazadi (10 points)

The Falcons had five turnovers and one point to show for the rest of the second quarter.  Salem (5-1) took flawless care of the ball and put ten points together (three layups Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez, jump shot David Kazadi, 3-pointer Jamie Dominguez) and had a 21-20 halftime lead.

That one-point lead held up through the third quarter.  Jamie Dominguez (11 points) and Mark McCarthy (12 points) both had two 3’s in the period.  Jamie’s first one was three straight free throws.

Danvers regained the lead (34-33) early in the final quarter as Peter Merry (14 points) converted his own rebound.

Salem scored all the points in the next 3 1/2 minutes on outside shots by Rashad Keys, Kelven Perpetuo, and David Kazadi (10 points) and Danvers never recovered from the 39-34 deficit.  They certainly came close!

Peter Merry (14 points) gets a rebound

Peter Merry (14 points) gets a rebound

Inside scores by Peter Merry at 1:27 and :26 had the visitors within one.

The Falcons gave two fouls and then got Jamie Dominguez to the free throw line shooting 1-and-1 with ten seconds left.  Jamie calmly sank both tries boosting the lead to three.

The Falcons executed their tying attempt perfectly.  The ball was on one side and Devan Harris, who had been in close to the basket all night long, drifted to the weakside corner.  A long diagonal pass (from Kashad Francois) found the Hingham transfer with a great look.  But his shot rimmed out to deny overtime.

A scary moment for Salem was when Rashad Keys went out with a leg injury early in the second quarter.  The newcomer from Mississippi, however, did return in the second half.

Good crowd on hand from both schools.  There was plenty to cheer and groan about in this one.

halftime cancer awareness speakers

halftime cancer awareness speakers

At halftime there was an excellent presentation on cancer awareness.  Both teams were wearing shirts for the event.

Next for Salem is home versus Revere on Friday night.

Danvers will travel to Swampscott on the same night.

Salem box

Danvers box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Salem shot blockers

Salem shot blockers

Jamie Dominguez drives on Devonn Allen

Jamie Dominguez drives on Devonn Allen

sportsmanship

sportsmanship

fancy pass

fancy pass

Rashad Keys goes for the block on Kieran Beck

Rashad Keys goes for the block on Kieran Beck

Devan Harris in heavy traffic

Devan Harris in heavy traffic

Mark McCarthy (12 points)

Mark McCarthy (12 points)

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Strong second half sends Brighton by Salem 82-61 in Division 2 North quarterfinals

Malik James (25 points) tries to get between two Salem defenders

Malik James (25 points) tries to get between two Salem defenders

Chris Dunston (13 points) reached 1000 career points

Chris Dunston (13 points) reached 1000 career points

(Salem) Chris Dunston reached 1000 points but that was the only good news Salem got out of their, 82-61, loss to Brighton in the Division 2 North quarterfinals on Friday night.

The Brighton Bengals (17-6) face the winner of undefeated Melrose versus New Mission.  In February, Brighton defeated New Mission to win their first ever Boston city championship.

Very misleading final score.  The first half saw seven lead changes, and an eleven-point (28-17) Salem lead early in the second quarter.  Brighton was only ahead by three (42-39) at the half.

With that paragraph of information you can now imagine what a disaster the second half was for the Witches.  The home team put their trust in the perimeter game and paid for it when serious cold shooting set in.

Nick Simpson (29 points including two dunks and three 3-pointers)

Nick Simpson (29 points including two dunks and three 3-pointers)

The visitors ran eight straight to start the second half and suddenly after three minutes Salem trailed by double figures (50-39).  Nick Simpson (29 points) had an old-fashioned three and a tip in while Daivon Edwards (17 points) drained a three in this surge.

The Witches cut the deficit to six (50-44) and later nine (55-46) with 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.  A layup  by Jamie Dominguez (12 points) and a three and a jump shot by Billy Muse (15 points) provided the offense.

But the Bengals had all the points (six) during the rest of the quarter and they ended up ahead, 61-46.  Malik James (25 points) and Nick Simpson had layups and Mark Mojica took a Salem turnover in for two.

The Witches did not have the accurate shooting to respond in the fourth quarter.  When Chris Dunston (13 points) went out with his 5th foul with 4 ½ minutes left, Salem was down, 68-54, and now minus their best shooter.

Brighton celebrated the end game with layups and two dunks by junior Nick Simpson.

Salem played a zone defense and Brighton connected nine times from long range.  Senior Daivon Edwards had five long ones and Nick Simpson had three.

The Witches had six 3’s including two during their 18-7 segment in the first half when they turned a 4-4 tie into a 28-17 advantage.  Seven different players contributed points.  It looked like a long night in the making for Brighton.

Marvin Baez (9 points) with Daivon Edwards (17 points) behind him

Marvin Baez (9 points) with Daivon Edwards (17 points) behind him

But the Bengals trio of shot makers turned things their way over the next three minutes by putting a streak of fourteen unanswered points together.  Nick had a three, two free throws, and a layup off a Salem miscue.  Malik canned a jumper and a layup down the lane.  Daivon connected on one of his five 3’s.  This collect of Brighton scoring gave them a 31-28 lead.  They would still have that three-point lead (42-39) at halftime.

Brighton and Salem barely escaped their first round games.

This is Brighton coach Hugh Coleman’s fourth season with Brighton.  His up-to-date record at BHS is 71-22.

They only used seating on one side of the Salem gymnasium.

Both teams had tremendous quickness.

Malik James hears it

Malik James hears it

Junior Malik James has a next-level game already.  His dribbling, shooting, and defending are special.  What does he need to work on?  Ignoring the crowd.  No question the boisterous Salem crowd gave him plenty to listen to.

Somewhere along the line Chris Dunston got his 1000th point.  That info was announced several minutes after the talented senior had fouled out.

Brighton boxscore

Salem boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

cheerleader toss

cheerleader toss

David Kazadi tries to block the shot of Nick Simpson

David Kazadi tries to block the shot of Nick Simpson

Malik James defends

Malik James defends

Brighton coach Hugh Coleman

Brighton coach Hugh Coleman

Second Nick Simpson jam

Second Nick Simpson jam

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Second half turnaround sends Salem past Malden Catholic 73-68 in D2 North boys tournament action

Marvin Baez (25 points) had four triples in the last quarter.

Jered Lewis (20 points) had eighteen in the first half

(Salem) Salem ousted Malden Catholic 73-68 in the preliminary round of the D2 North with as dramatic a second-half turnaround as you’ll ever see.

The Witches (10-11) trailed by twelve (34-22) at the half and didn’t look capable of hitting enough shots to make things interesting in the second half.

But right off the bat in the second half the shots started falling and they never stopped as Salem dropped an amazing fifty-one points on the visitors. The full-half burst of scoring gave the Witches more opportunities to pressure the Lancers, and it also gave the Salem crowd lots of plays to get excited about.

A ten-point run got the deficit down to a manageable level by the end of the third quarter (47-46) and Salem took the lead for good (57-54) with 5:11 left in the game.

Marvin Baez (25 points) hit more big shots in the final quarter than most players will make in a season.  The Salem junior tallied fourteen points with four 3’s and a layup off of a steal in a display that the Witch fans will be talking about for a while.

Marvin gave Salem its first lead (49-47) on his first long one of the final quarter.  About 2 ½ minutes later his three with an assist from Christian Dunston gave the Witches the 57-54 lead they would carry to the end.

Christian Dunston (22 points) made six free throws in last minute

Marvin’s last three put Salem in front 67-60 with 2:21 left.  Christian Dunston (22 points) collected six points out of three pressure-packed one-and-one’s to keep Malden Catholic (9-12) from getting within one possession of the lead the rest of the way.

Jered Lewis (20 points) had an awesome first half for MC.  The 6-2 senior knocked down 3’s and converted rebounds to the tune of eighteen first half points.  The Witches appeared to have no answers for him.

Jered was limited to two points in the second half and really struggled with leg problems throughout that half.  Minus his scoring in the second half, the Lancers hit several droughts that let Salem back into the game.

The best run of offense for MC in the second half was after Salem put up eight straight to take a 52-47 led a minute into the 4th quarter.  With a loud Salem crowd all over them, it would have been expected that MC would fall further behind. Instead they rallied for seven straight of their own and got the lead back, 54-52.

A John Mastascusa (12 points) layup, two Kyle Sangster (17 points) free throws, and a Chris Philpot (14 points) long one provided the Lancer points in this surge.

But Salem would regain the lead and never, after Jared Louf-Woods converted rebound with four minutes left, enable MC to have the ball and a chance to tie the score the rest of the way.

The talk will be of the big scoring nights of Marvin Baez and Christian Dunston but Emilio Beato’s fifteen points were significant too.

Chris Philpot (14 points) shoots a three from in front of the Salem crowd

Chris Philpot had four 3’s for Malden Catholic.

Turnovers were costly for the Lancers.  They had nineteen through three quarters.  That first half lead (thirteen points) could have been much higher with better care of the ball.  The turnovers in the 3rd period were of the very costly variety where Salem had breakaway layups from them.

Salem (#16 seed) gets to play #1 seed North Andover on Thursday night (7PM) at Lawrence High School.  The NA coach just “happened” to be at the game tonight.

Salem boxscore

Malden Catholic boxscore

(All the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

scramble under the basket

Marvin Baez

Emilio Beato (15 points) shoots in traffic

Jered Lewis

Jordan Lewis pressured

Salem cheerleaders

Kyle Sangster (17 points) shoots over Billy Muse

John Mastascusa (12 points) up for a block

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Mark Melanson (17 points) Leads Burlington Boys Past Salem 69-64 in Division 2 North

Mark Melanson (17 points) clinches the Burlington win with two free throws with 2.9 seconds left in front of a stunned Salem student section.

Mark Melanson bothers Dario Medrano on his late layup attempt.

(Salem) Mark Melanson came up huge in the last twenty-six seconds and led Burlington (#12 seed) past the host Salem Witches (#5 seed), 69-64, in the first round of the Division 2 North.

This was a game in which neither team passed a chance to launch from long range.  I counted sixty-one 3-point attempts!

The crowd saw a fast-paced game with the final outcome uncertain until late in the last minute.

Burlington’s Ryan Putney got into the lane for a game-tying (64-64) layup with twenty-six seconds left.  After a Salem timeout, Mark Melanson came up with three crucial plays.

(1) When Salem broke through Burlington pressure, Dario Medrano went in for a go-ahead, layup attempt.  Mark was close by (note the picture) and harassed Dario into a miss without fouling.

(2) Going the other way against Salem pressure, Burlington broke through and Mark was located by Ryan Putney in the corner in front of the Burlington bench.  He drilled a three from there to give the Red Devils a 67-64 lead with nine seconds left.

Antonio Reyes sets for a late-game three with Connor Gallivan (#3) defending.

(3) After an Antonio Reyes attempt to tie, Mark grabbed the rebound, got fouled, and drained two free throws in front of a stunned Salem crowd to seal the win with 2.9 seconds left.

Salem (15-6) came into the final two minutes of the game with a 2-point (64-62) lead but came up empty on five straight possessions.  You kept waiting for a three to drop for them but they had nothing to show for nine tries in the last quarter.

One mystery I solved before the game related to Zach Hurynowicz.  Zach reached 1000 points for the Devils this season.  He was a preseason 3rd team player according to ESPN.  He had a remarkable 48 point game in January against Woburn.  He was averaging close to 20 points per game.  He was also sitting on the bench in a recent game with no explanation for the reason in the article including that information.  I’m thinking injury and I’m wondering how serious.  I pick up a program as I enter the Salem gymnasium and Zach isn’t even on the roster.  Now I’m really wondering.  I find someone with a Burlington athletic jacket on and get the full scoop – Zach is off the team because of grades.

Minus Zach, I liked Salem chances.

Sometimes, however, when a key player is missing, others step up.  And that’s what happened with Burlington.

After Salem jumped off to a quick 6-3 lead on two Antonio Reyes 3’s, the Devils cranked up their defense (Salem had one basket in their next sixteen possessions) while on offense Burlington went on an 16-2 run.  Mark Melanson had two 3’s and Greg Sheridan had one as part of this run.

Burlington led 18-10 after a quarter.

Raphy Medrano (21 points) launches a three over Ryan Putney (#23).

In the second quarter, Raphy Medrano got so hot (made four 3’s) that I thought I’d see the fire marshal at any moment!  Raphy was key in twelve straight Salem points and the Witches went up, 28-23, with 4 ½ minutes left in the quarter.

Salem had a one-point (34-33) lead at the half.

I suspected at halftime that three-point shots would be crucial the rest of the way.  Having seen Salem twice, I figured that they were the likely team to cash in the most from long range.  I sure got that wrong!  The Witches were 3-for-17 in the second half while Burlington was a sizzling 6-for-11.

The Devils put together 2 ½ minutes of unanswered offense (nine straight) and pulled away, 53-47, with a minute left in the third quarter.  Burlington got inside for three layups (Joe Renaud, Ryan Putney, Shane Farley) and also had a three from Shane.

A last-second three (Dario Medrano) narrowed Burlington’s lead at the end of the third quarter to, 53-50.

Salem put together a 12-2 spurt early in the final quarter and went up by four (62-58) with 4 ½ minutes left.  A key play there was a steal by Antonio Reyes that he turned into a layup down the other end.  Chants of “MVP, MVP” rang out from the Salem student section after that play.

The Devils got inside twice to Joe Renaud to tie the score before Antonio Reyes and Ryan Putney traded baskets.  This set the stage for the final twenty-six seconds and the Mark Melanson heroics.

Raphy Medrano (21 points) led all scorers.  He made five 3’s.

Mark Melanson (17 points) also had five 3’s.

Antonio Reyes – One of the North Shore’s best over the last three seasons.

Antonio Reyes (15 points) hit his first two shots from long distance and never made another one the rest of the way.  I suspect that many of the Salem faithful were as surprised as I was by that.

Ryan Putney (13 points) was isolated late and got into the lane for the tying layup in the last minute.

The sudden end for Salem was a surprise after they won the Division 2 North last year.  They are also graduating Antonio Reyes, Brad Skeffington, and the Medranos.

The Witches, out of the Northeastern Conference (North), ended up losing five of their last six games.

I have watched Antonio Reyes play for three seasons.  With the body of a linebacker (his position on the Salem football team) and a sizable collection of moves and shots, he was a special player.

Burlington (13-8) gets to continue their season against the winner of the Marblehead/Boston Latin Academy game.

( I collect my own stats, take my own pictures, and draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional. )

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