Salem controls game from the start, defeats South Lyon East to reach Kensington Conference final
By Mike Holzman
Canton – There is a saying that beating a team for the third time in a season is always the most difficult.
Clearly no one let Salem in on this adage as the Rocks dominated South Lyon East on Thursday defeating the Cougars 52-23 in a Kensington Lakes Activities Association Kensington Conference semifinal.
Salem (14-4) will host Plymouth (16-2) for the conference title on Tuesday.
Leading the Rocks’ well-balanced offense was senior guard Jamyra Wilson. Wilson was held to three points the last time Salem played East but this time she had 12 points and four rebounds. Two of Wilson’s points came off a steal that she turned into a fast-break layup midway through the second quarter.
Salem also received contributions from freshman Lasha Petree who had 11 points. Miranda Armstead added eight points and five rebounds.
Salem coach Lindsay Klemmer pointed out two key objectives that her team met. She is a defensive-minded coach and strives for her players to have a “defense first” mentality. Klemmer’s team also plays unselfishly on offense.
“We share the ball really well and that’s why we got three people (sic) with double figures,” she said.
When asked how she prepared her players for the game she told them that “the only thing that was going to win was heart, hustle and hard work and whoever wanted it more was going to take this game.”
Turnovers cost East (11-7) dearly. The Cougars had 15 in the first half as they were held to just six points.
“They had too many good players that we just couldn’t stop,” East coach Rob Leadley said.
East’s top player, Gabi Bird, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with four points and six rebounds. Leadley credited Salem’s defense for shutting down his star player.
Junior forward Peyton Jones accounted for nearly half of East’s points with 11.
Leadley remained optimistic about his team as well as their future.
“We still did a lot of firsts this year for South Lyon East,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve beaten Canton and the first time we won a game in the KLAA tournament.”
He added that this was their best season and that he is proud of his players given how much younger his program is compared to other teams in the KLAA.