After getting by Tuckerman in the first round of the 2004 NEA Tournament, the Salem Greyhounds were making plans for a deep run at the A-AA title Dec. 27 when they hooked up with the Marmaduke Greyhounds in the second round of play at the Convocation Center on the campus of Arkansas State University.
For one half of action, Salem (5-6) gave third-seeded Marmaduke (14-7) all it wanted before the taller Greyhounds finally wore down their namesakes from Fulton County, with Marmaduke advancing with a 68-56 win over Salem.
Salem knew Marmaduke posed a potential problem for their defense in the presence of a couple of big seniors, 6-3 John Clark and 6-7 Dane Boggs.
The Salem Greyhounds' 1-3-1 defense kept Boggs fairly quiet, holding him scoreless during the first half of play, but Clark proved to be too much, as he lit the nets for a game-high 26 points.
Salem didn't exactly come into the battle unarmed, as Chad Willett demonstrated.
Willett tossed in a team-high 21, including nine in the critical third period as Salem fought to keep pace with Marmaduke.
Salem jumped on top of Marmaduke right out of the first period gate, as Willett and Phillip Taylor (eight points) each popped a trey to help their squad race in front 12-5 midway into the frame.
Marmaduke fought back late in the first behind a couple of buckets from Clark, but Salem held serve 17-12 after one.
Foul trouble during the first 16 minutes of play helped Salem hold Boggs in check, but Marmaduke grabbed the lead by outscoring Salem 15-7 in the second period.
A 10-3 run late in the frame did the trick as Marmaduke swiped the lead from Salem just before the break.
A steal and hoop by Kyle Estes (13 points) stopped Marmaduke's run, but the teams went to intermission with Marmaduke on top by three, 27-24.
The third period ended up being a duel between Willett and Clark, with Marmaduke pulling ahead for good in the frame.
Clark fired in eight points for Marmaduke in the third, while Willett accounted for nine of Salem's 11 in the frame.
Marmaduke steadily put distance between itself and Salem in the third, and when Mike Dobbins jacked a 3-ball right before the buzzer, Marmaduke's lead had grown to 48-35 after three.
The Salem Greyhounds didn't give up; instead they converted two triples, one each by Willett and Taylor, along with a traditional 3-point play from Estes, midway into the fourth to edge closer, down 53-46 at the 5:30 mark.
As it turned out, Marmaduke was not done either.
Closing the game on a 15-8 sprint-out, Marmaduke finished matters and knocked Salem out of the tourney by 12 points.
Dusty York tallied six points for Salem, while Lance Powell hit for five. Derek Batterton added two, and Nathan Criss one.