Such was the case for the Salem Greyhounds Feb. 6 when basically everything they did worked, leading to a 50-42 2-2A Conference victory over the Midland Mustangs at the Dawg Pound.
Earlier in the evening, the Lady Greyhounds set the tone with a resounding 73-58 thumping of the Lady Mustangs.
As the third period wound down in the boys' clash, Midland got a bit careless with the basketball and the Hounds who trailed 24-23 with three minutes left in the frame, took advantage of three straight Mustangs turnovers.
J.W. Blevins (16 points) blasted a pair of his four triples in the game at that point, while Shane Smith knocked down two free throws to push Salem on top 31-24. Smith led all scorers with a game-high 22 points for the Greyhounds.
Then to cap Salem's late work came the play of the night. With nine ticks left on the third-period clock, Midland coughed up the ball and Salem's Carson York (five points) came up with it near mid-court. York wheeled and chucked the ball at Salem's basket from that spot on the court. Just before the clock headed to double zeros, the ball bounced once under the Hounds' basket and went straight up in the air. Clint Ray (three points) was Johnny-on-the-spot for Salem and plucked the ball out of the air and stuck it into the hoop as the buzzer sounded, giving Salem a 34-26 lead heading into the final frame.
And after that play, it was all over.
With an eight-point lead and eight minutes left in the game, Salem was content to work the ball around the perimeter to run some time off the clock and shoot some free throws.
This tactic worked like a charm.
Salem hit 12 free throws in the fourth period, including four from Steven Eubanks, to hold the Mustangs at bay, giving the Greyhounds their second straight conference victory of the week.
Midland opened the game with a 3-0 lead, but Smith tossed in five straight points and York added a bucket to help the Hounds to a 7-6 lead after one.
The Greyhounds maintained this lead throughout the second period and when the half rolled around, Salem was on top 17-13.
The Mustangs rallied to take their first lead since the game's opening hoop in the third, but Salem had an answer and pulled ahead for good late in the stanza.
Ben Lytle paced Midland with 14 points.
The girls' clash was a physical affair that saw plenty of trips to the charity stripe in the game.
Three Lady Mustang starters ended up fouling out of the game, including Midland's sparkplug, guard Farrah Turner, who was forced to sit with five fouls with five minutes left in the game. Turner led all scorers with 21 points on the night.
Both Laci Long and Chelsea Maguffee took advantage of Midland's willingness to send Salem to the free throw line. Long tossed in 20 points in the game, with 12 points coming from the charity stripe, all in the second half. Maguffee also knocked down 12 freebies in the game, on her way to a 16-point effort.
Midland started the game off with Turner getting deep penetration in Salem's defense, giving her the choice to dish off or head in for a layup. Turner hit back-to-back buckets in the first to spark a 9-0 run for Midland, helping the Lady Mustangs to a 15-6 lead after one.
But when the second period started, Midland could not hang onto the ball and Long picked up the pieces for Salem, scoring two straight layups. Jamie Bell (eight points) added a bucket, Maguffee hit a pair from the charity stripe and then Terra Kinder (20 points) capped Salem's 11-zip burst with the second of her five treys in the game, pushing the Lady Hounds on top 17-15.
Midland had a chance to take the lead going into intermission, but the Lady Mustangs struggled a bit from the charity stripe and Kinder put an exclamation point on the first half of play with a 3-ball that gave Salem a 28-26 advantage at the break.
Midland picked up four team fouls in the first two minutes of the second half, which meant Salem saw plenty of time at the free throw line in the second half.
Kelly Passmore (eight points) tried to put up a trey right before the end of the third, but was hacked in the act. She went to the charity stripe and canned three free throws to help the Lady Hounds in front 48-37 after three.
Salem continued to be efficient with the ball in the fourth thanks to an 8-0 run in the middle of the frame, went up by 21 points, 63-42.
Midland, with three starters out, could not respond and the Lady Hounds cruised to a big 73-58 victory over Midland.
Ashley Brooks ended the game with one point for Salem.
They only placed three players in the scoring column, but the Greyhounds still knocked off Cedar Ridge 58-52 in 2-2A action Feb. 3 in Newark.
The Timberwolves were up 38-38 at the end of three, but the Hounds went 14-for-20 from the charity stripe in the final frame to notch the victory.
Smith exploded for 25 points for Salem, while Blevins racked up 18 and Dallas Holt 15.
In girls' action, the Lady Timberwolves pushed past Salem 51-32 to start the evening.