Huge game from Willett not enough for Salem to open home season with victory
It was a study in contrasts Nov. 22 as the Salem Greyhounds opened their 2004 home season at the Dawg Pound by hosting the Cave City Cavemen.
The game featured a couple of terrific individual performances from Salem's Chad Willett on the perimeter and Cave City's Carl Ring on the low blocks.
In the end, the Cavemen had a little too much juice for Salem, and won 67-54.
Earlier in the evening, the Cavewomen spoiled the Lady Greyhounds' first outing on their home court by defeating Salem 50-40.
In the nightcap, it was a spirited matchup between a couple of clubs that will undoubtedly grow stronger as the season progresses.
The Cavemen appear to have found the presence in the paint they were missing last year, as Ring had his way around the bucket, tossing in a team-high 18 points for Cave City.
Cave City's victory thwarted a huge game from Willett who threw in a game-high 28 points, at times looking like he was playing horse in his backyard.
Cave City led all game, save for a brief time late in the first period.
The Cavemen opened the game with 3-pointers from Jon Hodges (12 points) and Jonathan Fowler (10 points) to take an early lead.
Willett responded by going on a personal 8-0 run for the Hounds, pulling them within a point, 11-10.
Dustin Davidson (14 points) sank a pair of free throws at the end of the first to give Cave City a 15-14 advantage after one.
Cave City boosted its lead in the second period as Ring found the paint to his liking.
With the Cavemen in front 23-16 at the 4:05 point of the second, Ring outscored Salem 9-2 during a three-minute stretch to give Cave City a 32-18 advantage.
Davidson scored the last bucket of the half, pushing the Cavemen in front 34-19 at intermission.
Salem didn't just roll over in the third, as Phillip Taylor came out gunning.
Taylor (14 points) knocked in a pair of triples, but Cave City answered back with a 9-2 run to hold serve 52-35 after three, and keep the Hounds at bay.
Salem (1-1) scored the first six points of the fourth, pulling within 52-41, but the Cavemen (10-2) managed to keep their distance the remainder of the frame, heading to a 13-point win.
Dustin Smith added seven points for Cave City, while Jared Harris, Brandon West and Derek Bell tallied two points apiece.
Dusty York finished with four for Salem, with Kyle Estes, Devin Bozeman and Derek Batterton adding two each. Wes James and Mike Innis hit for a point each.
In girls' action, the game was not exactly a work of art. A struggle to survive was more accurate, as the contest saw over 50 free throws shot on the night.
In the end, Cave City's Leah Fugett took charge, tossing in her squad's final 11 points to break open a 40-32 game, giving the Cavewomen a 10-point win. Fugett posted a game-high 21 points on the night.
Brittney Bales (10 points) started Salem off with the game's first points, before Cave City grabbed control.
Kayla Qualls (five points) jacked a 3 late in the first to help Cave City end the period up 10-6.
The Lady Hounds managed only eight points in the second period, six of which came from the charity stripe. Seven of Cave City's 13 in the frame also came via foul shots, and the teams went to the halftime break with the Cavewomen in front 23-14.
Although they logged just four field goals in the third period, two of Salem's shots from the field were triples, one from Bales and one from Samantha Corsaut, that drew the Lady Hounds within 2, at 26-24.
This was as close as Salem got in the frame, as Cave City took a 29-26 lead to the final period.
Field goals were at a premium in the last eight minutes of play as well, with Salem hitting four, and Cave City five.
Lairen Hall's (11 points) layup at the 2:36 mark cut Cave City's lead to 42-38, but Fugett reeled off eight unanswered points for the Cavewomen, as they held on for victory.
Amy Swink and Katie Howell finished with five each for Cave City, while Joanna Anderson, Whitney Stauffer and Bobbi Walling added four points apiece. Christine Curtis tallied two for the Cavewomen.
Hanna Bray tossed in six points for Salem, with Tori Watkins, Bailey Wagner and Tabitha Hall finishing with two points apiece.