Furious rally falls just short as Salem girls fall to Blacksburg

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Amanda Woody scores for Salem.
PHOTO BY JIM DEVINNEY

The Salem High girls’ basketball team almost pulled off a miracle finish Tuesday night before coming up a bucket short. The Spartans dropped a 52-50 decision to the host Bruins in Blacksburg.

Salem trailed this game 30-16 at the half and the Spartans were down 48-27 with three minutes and nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. To that point they only had scored two points in the fourth quarter, but in the ensuing 3:09 they scored 23 more and almost caught the Bruins.

“We had been pressing throughout the game,” said coach Corbitt Hairston. “We got a steal off the inbounds pass with just over three minutes left and got a basket, and then we had an offensive explosion. I used my last two timeouts during that run and we kept pressing and stealing the ball.”

The stunned Bruins thought they were on their way to an easy win, but when Deneja Hampton hit a three point shot with eight seconds left Salem cut the lead to one point at 51-50. Salem fouled and the Bruins hit one of two free throws with 1.2 seconds to go, and Salem failed to get off a shot after a long pass as the buzzer sounded.

“We didn’t get a win, but I have to give my girls a lot of credit for never giving up,” said Hairston. “That was a fantastic effort.”

Hampton finished with a dozen points, Kendra Bolen had 10 and Amanda Woody and Katie Evans had eight each.

“We had nice balanced scoring for a change,” said Hairston.

The loss dropped Salem to 2-14 on the season but it was a morale booster for the Spartans, who play at Cave Spring tonight and then will host Glenvar in the Adam Ward Classic at 11:45 am on Saturday. Salem played Cave Spring tough the first time around and beat Glenvar, so these should be two very competitive games.

Last Friday at Hidden Valley the Salemites dropped a 64-49 decision to the Titans. Amanda Woody led Salem with 15 points and Evans had 11.