The Salem High boys outscored Liberty 43-14 in the second half to pull away in Tuesday’s season opening high school basketball game. The Spartans took a 76-40 win in the Andrew Lewis Middle School gym.
Salem started the game slowly, trailing 17-15 after the first quarter. However, it was all Spartans after that as Salem outscored the Minutemen 18-9 in the second period to take a 33-26 lead into the locker room. The Spartans then used their depth to dominate the second half, including a fourth period that saw Salem outscore Liberty 25-4.
Tanner Dallas had 30 points to lead the Spartans, including 11 in the decisive third quarter. Bryson Hill had 15 points, including three three-pointers, and Tyrell Green had 11. Hunter Bayne had seven points and dominated the paint while Clayton Davidson came off the bench to score seven.
The game was played at Lewis with the Salem High gym floor replacement close to being finished. The Spartans are at Staunton River on Monday, then hope to be on the SHS floor Tuesday for a home game against Northside. A game between Massanutten Military and Believe Prep Academy will follow the Salem game on Tuesday. Massanutten is coached by former Salem High and Roanoke College standout Curtis Peery.
If the Salem High floor isn’t ready by Tuesday, the Spartans should have no problem playing another game at Lewis. Coach Kevin Garst is back after a year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and he looked right at home in the middle school gym, as did the Spartans.
Salem has four seniors on the team this year. Dallas, Bayne and Eli Bowery suited up Tuesday and Chase Greer is expected to play after the football season is over. Juniors include Hill, Davidson, Camden Hart, Andrew Wilkes and Grant Keffer. Sophomores are Tyrell Green, Grant Clemens, Lucas Yerton and Max Benne and several others may join the team after the football season.
“We’ll just have to wait and see who comes out after football,” said Garst. “I thought this group looked pretty good in our scrimmages and I was pleased with the effort against Liberty.”