UPPER DEERFIELD TWP. — After defeating the Cumberland Regional High School girls basketball team in fine fashion Thursday afternoon, Deptford could not hold on to its early lead against Salem, as the Spartans were defeated by the Rams, 48-29, Friday.
After Deptford jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, Salem rebounded quickly by going on a 20-6 scoring run. After taking a 20-14 lead at halftime, Salem put their foot on the gas and never looked back, outscoring Deptford 28-15 in the second half. The Lady Rams also held the Lady Spartans out of the paint, outrebounding them 19-6.
“I wanted to make it clear to them how important it was to box out,” said Salem head coach Steve Merritt. “Cheyenne Clark was getting her fair share of putting up a second and third shot and I just had to press upon them how important it was to box out and to double the number of rebounds she was getting. As soon as they did that, clearly better things started happening.”
In the first five minutes, Clark, a 5-foot-8 sophomore center, had already racked up six points and eight rebounds. By the end of the first half, Clark had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
That’s when things started to improve.
Rams sophomores Gayle Sanders and Tiasia Tatem combined for 20 points and 10 rebounds in the second half.
“Coming in to the second half, I knew we really wanted this win,” said Tatem. “So we came out harder than we ever did, played our positions right and took good shots.”
Deptford struggled greatly at the line, making only two of their 11 tries, while Salem capitalized on their chances, hitting nine of 15.
For the game, Salem dominated in the paint by picking up 42 boards to Deptford’s 25.
Deptford sophomore Naonna Brown posted 10 points, four rebounds and one steal. Senior Kayla Callaway and sophomores Imani Bussie and Carneccia Bryant combined for seven points, three boards, six steals and two blocks.
Rams sophomore Kayla Robinson chipped in seven points, a block and a rebound. She also hit a buzzer-beater before the end of the first half. Juniors Danielle Merritt, Kayla Chapman and Lauren Turner combined for 10 points, 19 boards, eight steals and a block.
Salem and Deptford will meet once again next week.
“It will be more reactionary than anything else,” Merrit said of playing Deptford again next week. “It’s difficult to be proactive against someone you are going to see in a weeks time. We are going to respond to what they give and take the opportunities that are given to us.”
Deptford head coach Mike Mullen declined to comment after the game.
With the win, Salem was crowned the Colt Classic champion and moved to 4-1 on the season, while Deptford dropped to 2-3 with the loss.