Eastern's boys win round two of county clash against Lions

In round two of Salem versus Eastern last Saturday, the Lions stayed closed for a while but the host Musketeers pulled away late. Here, Eastern's Kade Anderson challenges a shot by Adam Mull. (Photo by Josh Lewis)

For the second time this season, the Musketeers and the Lions squared off on the hardwood, and just like the first time Eastern came out on top. However unlike the first matchup in the holiday tourney, Salem was much more competitive and made Eastern earn their victory in a game that was closer than the score showed as the Musketeers won 72-54. 

Eastern Head Coach Ray Weatherford said his team made some adjustments at halftime and they paid off. “Salem shot well in the first half. We didn’t shoot that well. We took a few ill advised shots. Give them credit they were hanging around. At halftime we talked about increasing the lead and not just maintaining it. We changed a couple things defensively and it worked for us. We put some more points up there and next thing you know you have a pretty comfortable lead.”

Salem scored the first points of the game seconds after the opening tip, but the Musketeers answered with a quick 7-0 spurt to take the lead. Alex Wilcox drained a three for Salem to make it a 7-5 Musketeers lead. Aiden Miller scored in the paint to put Eastern up 14-9 late in the quarter. 

Adam Mull hit a three for Salem to start the second quarter, but Bransun White answered with a triple and Kade Anderson hit a runner to push the lead back out 21-14. The Lions kept hanging around though. Jaden Cheatwood got an old fashioned three point play and Mull hit another three to pull Salem back down 26-20. Brody Temple and Anderson answered with a score and a three respectively to make it a 31-20 advantage. Wilcox hit a three for Salem and an old fashioned three point play from Jackson Brough kept the Lions close. Kaden Temple knocked down a three with four seconds left to close the half and give Eastern a shot of momentum going into the break. 

Kaiden Romero-Hembree hit a three for Salem coming out of the break. A few minutes later Cheatwood hit a three to make it a 42-26 Musketeers lead. But turnovers from Salem would stop their momentum. Anderson hit two from the stripe and Kaleb Bongibault got a putback up and through to push the Eastern lead back out 53-39. Early in the fourth Bongibault scored again to make it 57-41 and Salem never threatened after that. 

Weatherford really liked what he saw from his guards. “Kade and Kaden handled the ball well for us. We trust them and put it in their hands. They are multiple year starters. They do a good job making decisions. When you have those guys it’s pretty easy to play.”

As the season starts to wind down Weatherford said his team is playing well, but isn’t playing their best, but he hopes they will be soon. “We aren’t near where we want to be. The next two weeks are pretty critical for us and our maturation. We can play so much better. We had a nice win against Springs Valley, we had a nice win here. But when we go back and look at the film we won’t be satisfied. We did things we didn’t want to do. We made some bad decisions and things like that. It’s critical for us to fix the little things. We have to take care of ourselves.”

“I love that we’ve won two in a row, but we haven’t won three in a row all year. Can we do that? The challenge is there. We want to keep it rolling and keep improving. We haven’t peaked yet. We are playing good, but we aren’t playing near as good as we can be yet.”

Eastern will travel to Henryville on Thursday and Salem will travel to Silver Creek on Thursday. 

1 2 3 4 T

SHS   9 19 13 13 -54
EHS 14 24 17 17 -72

SHS scoring: Mull 8, Cheatwood 18, Wilcox 8, Dean 4, Romero-Hembree 4, Brough 7, Chastain 3, Bowles 2

EHS scoring: Anderson 19, White 12, Banet 3, K. Temple 13, Bongibault 17, B. Temple 4, Miller 4

Threes: Mull 2, Cheatwood, Wilcox 2, Romero-Hembree, Anderson, White, K. Temple

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