Salem routs Chaney, 61-41
Wilson turned back Hubbard 56-40 in the second game.
BOARDMAN -- If you think Salem High boys basketball coach Jeff Brink was satisfied with just getting a win on Wednesday, think again.
"It's not like last year, where our goal was to just to win a tournament game," Brink said. "We have loftier goals."
Last year, the Quakers snapped an 11-year tournament losing streak with a win over Wilson before falling to Poland in the sectional final. This year, they overcame a shaky offensive performance to defeat Chaney 61-41 in a sectional opener at Boardman High School.
Wilson beat Hubbard 56-40 in the second game.
"The bottom line is, you've gotta win the game," Brink said. "And to get a 20-point win, that's a positive.
"But we didn't play real well tonight and we'll need a much better performance if we want to move on in the tournament."
Jesko leads way
Junior Tom Jesko had another strong game for Salem (9-12), scoring 18 points and grabbing four rebounds, while Jarin Heath added 10 points.
Junior Buddy Cramer added eight points and three rebounds as the Quakers got 17 points from their bench.
"That is definitely a positive," Brink said of his reserve play. "Buddy Cramer had a good fourth quarter and Steve Jeckavitch [seven points, all in the first half] had a good first half."
The Quakers play Niles at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The teams split their two meetings this season.
"They're a well-coached team and they shoot the ball really well," Brink said of Niles.
"They're capable of beating anyone. We've got to play very fundamentally sound against them."
Evan Busch scored 13 points and Antonio Fitzgerald added 11 points and seven rebounds for Chaney (3-18), which shot just 13-of-50 from the field.
Wilson entered Wednesday's game without a tournament win in the last four years and promptly missed its first six shots while committing four turnovers.
It was a bad start. And a better finish.
The Redmen (5-15) hit 15-of-28 from the field in the second half to pull away from the Eagles (3-18).
"We got off to a real sluggish start," said Wilson coach Mark Cherol. "We're sort of a hot and cold team. Some days we play really well and some days we don't."
Wilson will need a hot day on Saturday. The Redmen have a date with top-seeded Poland in the nightcap.
"We've just got to play the best we can and see what happens," Cherol said. "It's like I told our guys, we're capable of playing with a lot of teams if we play our best. If we don't, we're capable of looking like the worst team in the tournament."
Johnson sparks Redmen
Sophomore William Johnson looked outstanding for Wilson, scoring 21 points -- 14 in the second half -- and grabbing seven rebounds.
The speedy Redmen repeatedly found openings inside against a Hubbard team that does not have a player taller than 6-feet.
"They're not big, but we're not too big ourselves," Cherol said. "Fortunately we have some guys who are able to take it strong to the hole."
Walter Duncan added 12 points and six rebounds, while Justin Maxwell had 11 points for Wilson.
Todd Coonce paced Hubbard with 12 points and six rebounds. Freshman Marc Kenetsky had eight assists and David Ward and Brian Boyce each had six rebounds.