SALEM, Mass. – Depth is a one-syllable word that caused a mouthful of problems for the Salem Witches yesterday against Everett.
The visiting Crimson Tide played over a dozen players and wore down Salem en route to a convincing 68-45 win at Salem State.
Everett had five players score over seven points. The consortium of guards led the way for the Crimson Tide. Ernie Chatman had seven points, Lubern Figaro netted nine, and Gary Clark pumped in 10. Jordan McAfee led all scorers with a game-high 13 points.
“We just had a lot of intensity coming into the game,” Clark said. “We knew it was a big game for us, we're trying to get the top seed in Division 1 North.”
Chatman scored a three 25 to put the Tide ahead first and they never looked back. It was 16-6 after one quarter and 31-18 at the half.
Salem didn’t help itself with missed shots and turnovers galore. The Witches shot 6-for-19 from three-point range and turned the ball over 23 times. Whenever Salem made a run, the Witches cut the deficit to single digits twice after the first, mistakes would stall them out.
“We didn't come out of the blocks good, and every time we climbed into it they made a run,” Salem coach Tommy Doyle said. “We made some decent runs at them, put some pressure on them, and they hit the shots they needed to make.
“We need to do a better job controlling the ball and we needed to control the tempo tonight, and we weren't able to do either.”
The Tide turned the ball over 17 times, but they found ways to continue to push forward. The guards moved the ball better and better as the game progressed with each guard picking up his share of assists.
“I thought everyone played very unselfish,” Everett coach John DiBiaso said. “They made the extra pass, and when we make the extra pass we're a very difficult team.
“We try to make it a little chaotic, but it got a little too much for a while. It worked out for us. When we're playing teams that don't have that kind of depth we wear them down.”
Jamie Dominguez led Salem with 11 points.
BIG PLAY BIG: While Everett's guards were channeling their inner Harlem Globetrotters, the duo of Rodwell Blanc and Timmance McKinney put in yeoman's work in the paint.
Both players had five rebounds and altered even more Salem shots. Blanc scored eight points while McKinney had four. Blanc put an exclamation point on his night with a block in the waning minutes.
“We work hard in practice and you practice how you play,” McKinney said. “I feel like the way we practiced translated over to the game.”
DiBiaso said he expected his upperclassmen to play with a presence.
“They're both captains so I count on them every game,” DiBiaso said. “They both stepped up and played very well.”
KEYS GOES DOWN AND KAZADI STEPS UP: Salem forward Rashad Keys went down in a heap late in the second quarter. He was helped off the court and did not return.
Doyle said it was a high ankle sprain and Keys would be reevaluated on Monday. After the game, Keys was walking on his own power, without crutches, and a slight limp.
With Keys out it was on the shoulders of David Kazadi to defend the paint against the Tide attack. Kazadi did an admirable job, putting in five points and pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds.
“He's been an invaluable player,” Doyle said of Kazadi. “He does so much for us defensively, offensively, on the glass, everything. He's a special player us and has stepped up for us all year.”