The Witches also had to deal with senior center David Kazadi getting into foul trouble. He picked up three fouls in the first half and earned his fourth in the third quarter.
”It’s huge. David is key piece of our puzzle; that’s why we play a zone a lot of the times, to try to hide him and keep him out of foul trouble. Unfortunately, tonight it was something that we couldn’t avoid,” Doyle said. “It played a key factor, but Belmont really executed well and had a great game plan.”
Kazadi’s foul trouble opened the door for Belmont junior center Adam Kleckner to get free under the hoop. He led all scorers with 21 points, but Belmont could also attack from the perimeter. The Marauders hit 10 3-pointers for the game.
Sophomore guard Matt Kerans buried four triples for Belmont and finished with 19 points.
Bryan Martinez-Rodriguez and Jamie Dominguez each scored 15 points for Salem, but the Witches couldn’t make a significant run in the second half.
Senior guard Shaky White also hit double figures for Salem with 11 points.
Belmont’s win sets up what should be an excellent semifinal matchup with Danvers.
”I know they’re a very good team,” Belmont coach Adam Pritchard said. “They’ve got some size, they run a lot of sets, kind of like us, and they’ve got kids that have experienced a state championship and we’d like to try to get them to experience something different.”
Belmont 71, Salem 52
Belmont: Lazenby 2-2-7, Kerans 7-1-19, Burns 4-0-11, Hinton 2-0-4, Croce 1-0-3, Kleckner 9-2-21, Wagner 2-0-4, Phillips 1-0-2. Totals 28-5-71.
Salem: White 4-1-11, Dominguez 6-0-15, Kazadi 2-0-4, Nunez 2-0-5, Martinez-Rodriguez 6-3-15, Perpetuo 1-0-2. Totals 21-4-52.
Halftime: Belmont, 35-24.
3-pointers: B, Kerans 4, Burns 3, Lazenby, Croce, Kleckner; S, Dominguez 3, White 2, Nunez.
Records: B, 18-6; S, 17-5