Toy leads Raiders to a big second half in victory over Salem

Raiders win sets up match up with undefeated LaBrae on Friday

Salem and South Range Boys Basketball
Salem and South Range Boys Basketball

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The South Range Raiders remained undefeated on the season with a dominating 58-43 win over the neighboring Salem Quakers Tuesday night. The victory improves the Raiders to 12-0 on the season while the Quakers drop to 5-6 on the year.

Following a 12-point, 26-14 lead at halftime, the Raiders exploded in the third quarter to rush out to a 24-point advantage with 24-seconds remaining in the period. The combination of Brennan Toy and Jaxson Anderson propelled the Raiders as they combined to score 18 of the team’s 21 points in the stanza.

“When he (Toy) is getting to the rim, he goes like a streak and then he lays it up nice and soft. That’s when he’s playing good when he can do that,” Raiders head coach John Cullen remarked. “He really looked behind the defense which is what we wanted. You have to get those easy points.”

“We were just flowing really nice in the second half which was a key point (in the game). Especially following the second quarter when we didn’t play very well,” Toy admitted. “But in the second half, we wanted to repeat the first quarter.”

“He was moving without the ball,” Toy explained of his successful combination with Anderson. “Their defense adjusted to me. They were starting to play me a little harder and that created open areas for my teammates which they did a great job of getting open. Jaxon especially, who was always slipping to the hoop, and it just created easy passing lanes.”

The Raiders led from tip-off to the final buzzer as they raced out to a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The Quakers would not record a basket until the 1:40 mark of the quarter with the Raiders holding a commanding 18-3 lead at the end of the period.

“We were glad to play somebody else besides ourselves for a change. We’ve been playing (against) ourselves for two weeks,” Cullen jokingly remarked about the Raiders intensity to start the game in light of recent cancellations. “No really, that’s who we are. When we play good that’s how we play.”

Both teams struggled in the second quarter, but the Quakers were able to cut into the deficit as they got to within 6 at 18-12 at the 4:59 mark following a basket by senior Mitch Davidson. However, the Raiders would close the frame with an 8-2 run to make it 26-14 at the intermission.

“We got in a hole at 18 to 3 then we got to 21-14 and we got the ball with a chance to cut it to five with a little momentum and then we turn the ball over three straight times,” Quakers head coach Rich Hart explained. “You can’t do that against good teams. You put yourself in that hole then you fight back. You can’t have those lulls, especially on the road.”

The Raiders would outscore the Quakers 21-10 in the third quarter, holding a 47-24 lead at the end of the quarter. The Quakers would not get any closer in the final frame then the final 15-point final score margin.

“We have to do the fundamental things that we should do, and we’re not doing that,” Hart remarked. “We’re not taking care of the ball or making the extra pass. We’re forcing things when we don’t need to. Against good teams, that’s a recipe for disaster.”

The loss overshadowed an outstanding performance by the Quakers Mitch Davidson as he netted a game-high 21 points. No other Quaker player would record more than 5 points in the game. Davidson would also carry the Quakers on the boards as he pulled down 6 rebounds.

Mike Cunningham led the Raiders in scoring on the night with 18 points while Toy had 14 and Anderson knocked down 10. Both Toy and Anderson grabbed 5 rebounds to lead the Raiders on the boards.

The Raiders will now host the undefeated and state-ranked LaBrae Vikings Friday night. The Quakers will travel to Canton South Friday night in a Northeastern Buckeye Conference game.

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