BEVERLY — One door closes and another door opens.
Just a couple days after missing out on an opportunity to take control of its own fate, the Salem High boys basketball team had a chance to grab a share of the Northeastern Conference Large title last night. This time, the Witches had no intention of letting the league crown slip away.
Salem gradually built its lead in the first half and extended it in the second half to defeat Beverly, 76-54, at Henry Cabot Lodge Fieldhouse.
The victory gave Salem a piece of the title along with Lynn Classical and Lynn English. Each team finished the NEC portion of its schedule at 12-4.
The Witches could have taken control of the league chase on Tuesday, but lost to Classical. But the Rams then lost to Lynn English on Thursday night, re-opening the door for Salem.
“It was a huge game, for the conference, it’s Salem-Beverly, and also for tournament standing. There was a lot on the line and our guys really stepped up and played well. Everyone was into it,” Salem (14-5 overall, 12-4 NEC) coach Tommy Doyle said.
“It was a bounce-back game. We struggled against Classical a little bit at times. Tonight maybe we didn’t play a whole game, but we played a lot more of a game. Everyone played together and played hard.”
Salem had four players hit double figures, and the top seven players in its rotation each made major contributions. The Witches played a much more complete game than they did against the Rams earlier this week.
“I feel like we didn’t come to play against Classical, (but) we definitely came to play today. I definitely think it was a bounce-back game,” Salem senior guard Billy Muse said. “It’s an awesome feeling. As a senior, it’s always nice to come out as co-champs of the NEC.”