Oliva Conners shoots one of 16 game high points
The Salem girls basketball team came out smoking last Friday night at Timberlane as they scored a season high 17 points in the first quarter and went on to defeat the Owls 49-41 to end the regular season with an 11-7 mark. Normally scoring 17 points in a quarter isn’t really that big a deal, but if it’s done in the first quarter, (which has been Salem’s worst scoring quarter this season), that has to please coach Liz Briggs as her girls get ready for their first round Class L tournament game. Freshman forward Kerry White gave her team an early lift when she scored all six of her points in the first five minutes of the game. Olivia Connors had four of her game high 16 points in the first five minutes, and Caitlin Peters jumper gave the Blue Devils a 12-6 lead before junior Amanda Vaudreuil came off the bench and immediately buried five points and a jumper and a 3-pointer. This gave the Salem girls a 17-12 lead that they took into the second stanza, and baskets by Vaudreuil, Sarah Raye, Conners, and Gina Righini had the Blue Devils with a 25-16 cushion, but the Owls put a late 6-2 run on and only trailed 27-22 at intermission. Salem came out hungry on defense in the third period, and hoops by Kelsi Record, Conners, and Raye pushed the lead up to 33-22 with four minutes to go in the third period. Salem finished the first three periods with a 40-32 lead after Connors hit two more buckets and Peters buried a 3-pointer to enter the final frame. Peters stuck the dagger in with a 3-pointer to begin the fourth period and Connors buried four foul shots and Record scored off an offensive rebound to allow Salem the 49-41 win. Coach Liz Briggs said, following the game, “It was nice to score the 17 first quarter points. Olivia and Kerry did nice jobs inside, and Caitlin, Gina, Sarah, and Nora did great defensive jobs. Amanda Vaudreuil helped us out again with seven points off the bench and we’re just hoping to keep it going into the first round of the tournament next week.” Salem tied with Manchester Memorial, Dover, and Exeter with identical records of 11-7, but Salem lost to Memorial and Dover in the regular season and ended up with the No. 9 seed in the Class L tournament. The Salem girls will visit Dover Wednesday night in hopes of paying back the Green Wave for the 48-40 game that they took from Salem three weeks ago.
Josh Jones hits one of six three-pointers
Josh Jones took advantage of Senior Night at Salem High School last Tuesday night as he pumped in 24 of Salem’s 38 halftime points, en route to a 68-38 crushing of the Concord Crimson Tide that upped their Class L record to 14-3. Senior Mark Adamson also had a big night that started off with him scoring eight of his season-high 13 points in the first half. Adamson and Jones had 13 of Salem’s 17 first quarter points, but the Blue Devils were knotted at 17-17 with Concord going into the second quarter. Josh Jones then took over the game all by himself here, as, after scoring the first bucket, Mike Kimball put Salem up 21-20 before the official “Jones Show” began. Josh hit two free throws and then a jumper before he buried four straight 3-pointers to take the Blue Devils from a 21-20 lead to a 38-24 halftime lead. Sophomore forward Joe Gallant took over in the second half and canned eight points, and Salem breezed to the 68-38 win. Jones finished with 29 points before coach Perry played his bench the entire fourth period, and Mark Adamson ended up with 13 points.
The Blue Devil boys basketball team started off their weekend with a resounding 74-41 win at Timberlane for their 13th win of the season. Senior co-captain Josh Jones looked like he was getting warmed up for the upcoming Class L tournament as he exploded for 22 points that included four 3-point bombs that came from somewhere near Route 125. Timberlane got off to a pretty nice start as Jones had two 3-pointers in the first quarter, but only hoops by Alex LaRosa and sophomore Joey Gallant had the Blue Devils trailing 13-0 heading into the second period. LaRosa started off the second stanza with a trey, Mark Adamson had an inside hoop, and Mike Kimball had a steal and a lay-up, and with five minutes left before the half, Salem and Timberlane were all knotted at 17-17. The Blue Devils went on a 13-1 run for the rest of the half as Kimball and LaRosa had two hoops apiece, Sean Bergeron had a put back, Mark Adamson sunk another lay-up, and Sammy Shields had a steal and a lay-up before the Owls hit a foul shot with five seconds left, to leave the Blue Devils staring at a 30-18 halftime cushion. Things didn’t get any brighter in the second half for the Owls, because Jones and LaRosa fired in four quick 3-pointers between them, and Sammy Shields had two more steals that led to breakaway lay-ups, and Salem now had a 54-30 lead heading into the final frame. Coach E. J. Perry let his reserves play the entire fourth period and they got huge efforts from junior guard Tyler Hutchinson, who had five points and a 3-pointer, Dan Tiner who had a 3-pointer, and Matt Cannone and Kyle Henrick both scored and played terrific defense. Salem happily left the court with a secure 74-41 victory. Josh Jones led all scorers with 22 points, Alex LaRosa had 16 points, and Mike Kimball had eight points and eight assists. Look for Salem to be hungry for bear this Friday night in Manchester, where they will end the Class L regular season with a 7 p.m. game at Manchester Central, in hopes of gaining a 15-3 record that would guarantee them the first two home games of the playoffs at Salem High.
Steve Comtois finished third at New Hampshire meet of champions
Salem wrestling first-year coach Todd Oljey couldn’t be happier with the way his young squad performed at the NH Meet of Champions last Saturday up at Londonderry High School. The Blue Devils took six of their wrestlers to this Meet, and two of them advanced to the New England Meet that will be held in New Haven, CT this Saturday, as they compiled 38 points which was just three points out of finishing in seventh place out of the 34 teams that were there. Freshman 112-pounder Zach Hicks looked like a cool customer as he advanced to the finals against Concord’s Bob Daniels. Hicks did lose to Daniels in a major decision, but there was no way he was going to get pinned. Coach Todd Oljey said of the freshman, “Zach was tremendous today. He ran away with his first win and then wrestled a great match against the kid from Hollis-Brookline, who was the Division 2 champion. Zach was beating him 7-0 in the third, and the kid got a takedown, but Zach advanced to the finals with a 7-2 win, and I think that’s pretty good for a freshman.”
The other Blue Devil wrestler to head to the New England Championships will be none other than senior captain Steve Comtois. Comtois was bitten with a case of the flu recently but he came out and battled a big kid from Newfound and was able to defeat him 2-1. Comtois lost to NH 171-pound champion Eric Petrillo of Timberlane, but he bounced right back with another 3-1 win to stay alive. In the battle for third place, Comtois had to go up against the kid from Newfound that he had beaten earlier in the day, and he was leading 1-0 when he had to call a time out. Comtois regrouped and went out and won the match 5-2. Coach Todd Oljey said later, “I told you about a month ago why we named Steve Comtois as our captain after the Lowell Holiday Tournament. This kid just never gives up and he gives you everything he has and more, and that’s why all the younger kids look up to him.”
Sophomore Brett Pittera went 3-2 in his 135-pound group and that was good for fifth place there, and the Blue Devils had three other wrestlers that gave it their all. Freshman 103-pounder Ryan Bolduc went 1-2 on the day, 130-pound sophomore Cam Yergeau went 1-2 in the Meet, and 119-pound sophomore Devin Deardon wrestled very well in one of the toughest weight divisions in the state. Oljey said he was very glad with the way his youngsters performed in the Division 1 Meet and the Meet of Champions, saying “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting very close. We’ve got all freshmen and sophomores on our team and they improved immensely from the beginning of the season. We’ll be looking for a few big kids in the upper weights next season and I think we’ll definitely be all right.”
The Mite team had a dramatic come from behind win over Wakefield at 6-5, with Jonathon Last getting four goals. Ian Krikorian and Hunter Healy got the other two.
Saints Squirt 1 team went 1-1-0 losing to Medford 4-0 on Saturday and rebounding on Sunday to beat Reading in a very close game of 3 to 2. The win over Reading was a result of Jacob Sylvester posting another hat trick and stellar goaltending by Nick Sturgess. The Squirt 2 team lost to Andover 3-1 on Sunday with Shea Kingsley getting the lone goal on a nice feed from Steve Birch.
The PeeWee teams recorded 1-2-2 for the week. PeeWee1’s had a busy week with three games going 0-1-2. They tied twice during weeknight play, first against Triton 2 to 2 and then against Methuen at 4 to 4. Their loss was against Concord Carlisle, 4 to 1. The PeeWee 2 recorded the lone win for the Saints Pee Wee division against Wilmington, 5 to 4. The PeeWee 3 team was beaten by Peabody 2 to 0.
The Saints Bantams skated to a 1-2-1 record last week. The Bantam 1 lost to Triton 4-1, despite superb goaltending by Willi Arlen. The Saints kept the game close most of the game with Triton putting it away in the third. Jason Parker banged home a rebound from a Connor Donahue shot for their only goal of the game. Their second game of the week was a losing effort to Wakefield 3-1. Cam Brock got the lone goal assisted by Connor Donahue. Bantam 2 team went 1 and 1 for week winning against Wilmington at 4 to 1 and then tying Burlington at 3 to 3 on Sunday.
The kids are gearing up for the final push of hockey leading to the playoffs in Valley League play.