Salem eases past Cardinal Mooney, 51-26, for 1st win | News, Sports, Jobs

Salem eases past Cardinal Mooney, 51-26, for 1st win | News, Sports, Jobs

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes. Salem senior Rylee Hutton drives and scores a layup against Cardinal Mooney on Monday.

YOUNGSTOWN — Both Salem and Cardinal Mooney dropped their season-opening contests last week to local powerhouse teams.

The Quakers used their opening-night loss at Howland to learn a thing or two, as they bounced back to knock off the Cardinals on the road to the tune of a 51-26 victory.

Senior Rylee Hutton led Salem in scoring with 20, junior Reese Davidson-Chuck added 13 and sophomore Maddy Andres tacked on 11 for the Quakers. It was also coach Tracy Miller’s first win at the helm of the Salem program.

“I was very proud of how we played against (Howland), and then tonight I’m very proud of our girls and how we played tonight,” Miller said. “Got a little sloppy there in the second half, but we buckled down. We’ve only been together a short time but the kids buckled down in the second half and did what we needed to do on the road to get that win.”

After a tightly contested first quarter that saw Salem (1-1) take a 12-8 edge, the second frame began with a bang as sophomore Maddy Andres hit a three-pointer on the far right side of the arc to kick start a 12-0 Salem run. Andres scored eight of those points, which also included a fast bucket off a steal by senior Lauryn Barton.

Just as importantly, Cardinal Mooney was held to a single field goal during the second quarter by way of a driving layup off the finger tips of junior Talecia Tuff. In total, Salem outscored their hosts 19-2 during the frame.

“When your team can look up at the scoreboard and see you’re up 20 or 21 going into half, it can go one of two ways. You can either get lazy and let them come back — we sort of got a little lazy on defense in the third quarter, I think we were tired,” Miller said. “But, it was a lot of momentum, you see that score and you want to keep on pushing, especially on the road. (Mooney) is a well coached team, they’re a good team. They have some nice guards so we had to keep on pushing.”

Mooney (0-2) chipped away in the third quarter, cutting the lead down to 33-17 at one point following a Sophia Diorio three-pointer, but Hutton answered back with a score immediately after on a fast break.

Defense played a major factor, especially for Hutton, as Salem was able to pick up a few steals and find buckets in transition.

“We just knew we had to shut the shooters down and we had to shut the good ball handlers down, defense is key to the game, so we all had to step it up and all play together as a team,” Hutton said. “Playing fast and getting the ball up the court and scoring quick is definitely an advantage on our team because we have speed, so we always try to use that to our advantage.

“Having girls all over the court keep on scoring, you can’t shut us down and then when it’s just one girl it’s easy to shut down, but with multiple girls scoring double-digits, it’s a great thing to have on a team.”

Davidson-Chuck added “We just needed to pick our heads up, we were playing a little sloppy in the beginning and we just needed to pick our heads up and run the court a lot. Once we get going we can’t stop and it just pushes us to get better.”

Huff paced the Cardinals with 11, as Samantha Rotunno, Delanie Olesh and Diorio added four.

Mooney came into the night off a loss at West Branch last Friday, but coach Dominic Diorio sees a team that isn’t giving up.

“We’re fighting and competing, first thing, we have to finish shots. We’re getting layups and open shots and they’re not even close right now. We’re in a little bit of a rut there, we get some of our layups, some of them uncontested, if we make some of those it’s a whole different game and hopefully the momentum shifts,” Diorio said. “The heart and the effort are there, we just have to finish.

“There’s no quit in them, I’ll give them that. They don’t stop and they hustle, they play their hearts out, some of the execution isn’t there sometimes. Some of the girls are still getting comfortable. We kind of changed some things around this year with different personnel and some younger girls, but hopefully they’re just figuring it out and getting better.”

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