SALEM — Despite all the turnovers, all the offensive rebounds surrendered, all the missed opportunities, Salem found a way to survive last night.
Salem senior guard Jamie Dominguez hit a contested pull-up jumper with 20 seconds left in regulation, then converted a conventional three-point play with 17 seconds left in overtime to help the Witches pull out a 60-58 win over Brighton in a Division 2 North first round game.
Salem (17-4) will now host Belmont on Monday (7 p.m.) in the quarterfinals.
Dominguez (17 points) was in the right spot at the right time on at least two occasions. His game-tying shot came off the dribble with a Brighton (11-11) defender in his shirt.
The game-clincher was more dramatic, believe it or not.
Dominguez headed to the line for a 1-and-1 with 19 seconds left and Salem clinging to a 57-56 lead. He front-rimmed the front end, but alertly stepped into the paint, grabbed the rebound and banked in a short floater while absorbing a foul. He made the free throw to push it to 60-56.
“I did not want to miss that, so once I saw it was coming off the rim my mission was to go get that,” Dominguez said. “I didn’t want this to be my last game.”
A Rashad Keys blocked shot at the other end gave Dominguez the chance to deliver the big points.
The play Dominguez made on his missed shot was just a case of a good player coming through in a tough spot.
“Oh, what a play. A huge play,” Salem coach Tommy Doyle said. “They missed the assignment or whatever it is, he made a sneaky little move in there, gets the ball and one. It was just great to see him step up and make a play like that.”
Salem turned the ball over 23 times, with most coming at some of the worst possible moments. The Witches couldn’t really grab control of the game because their turnovers always seemed to come right after a defensive stop.