Jadwin drive

Salem's Bella Jadwin drives toward the basket in the second half of Thursday's SCA game at home against Ava.

Salem played host to Ava in a crucial SCA conference matchup Thursday. Both teams entered play 3-1 in conference play, looking to remain within striking distance of an SCA crown. The lead switched hands several times in the first half, but the Lady Tigers grabbed the lead for good in the third quarter en route to a 54-48 victory.

"This was a big game for us in the conference race," said Salem coach Jake Reardon. "You never know how kids will respond to big games and pressure, but this group seems to do well with pressure, so we just told them at halftime that we have to win this game if we want a shot at conference. The girls answered in the second half and got the job done."

The first quarter began about as poorly as possible for Salem, as the Lady TIgers picked up several quick fouls and trailed 7-0. Following a timeout, the Lady Tigers answered with a run of their own, scoring the final 11 points of the quarter to lead 11-7.

Avery Erway provided a spark on the offensive end in the first quarter with five points, Ashton Bowers hit a three pointer, Madison Woolf scored two points and Bella Jadwin scored one point.

In the second quarter, Salem began attacking the rim consistently, hitting five two-point field goals, but Ava had its best quarter of the night offensively with 16 points to cut the Lady Tiger lead to 24-23 at halftime.

Jadwin led the way for Salem in the second quarter with five points; Savannah Manthey, Shelby Botkin, and Jana Cook scored two points apiece, and Erway and Woolf both added one point.

The Lady Bears came out quick in the third quarter, taking a four-point lead early in the frame, but the Lady Tigers answered to take the quarter 14-11 to lead 38-34 after three. Jadwin picked up another seven points in the quarter, Manthey scored three points and Bowers and Cook scored two points each.

Ava cut Salem's lead to two points late in the fourth quarter, but could never pull even as the Lady Tigers hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold on to the lead. Jadwin led the Lady Tiger attack with five points; Cook scored four points; Tatum Hatridge, Manthey, and Bowers scored two points each; and Woolf added one point.

The win improves Salem's record to 13-7 overall and 4-1 in the SCA. The Lady Tigers have two home games next week, as they host Cuba Monday and VIburnum Thursday. Viburnum will be a varsity only night.

Salem statistics:

Bella Jadwin - 18 pts, 7 rebs

Jana Cook - 8 pts, 6 rebs

Savannah Manthey - 7 pts, 5 rebs

Ashton Bowers - 7 pts, 5 steals

Avery Erway - 6 pts, 8 rebs

Madison Woolf - 4 pts, 6 rebs

Tatum Hatridge - 2 pts, 3 rebs

Shelby Botkin - 2 pts