SALEM - United they stood and United they fell, as Salem proved just too much for the inexperienced Golden Eagles at John C. Cabas Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The Quakers pressured United into turnover after turnover - the Eagles committed 20 total - en route to a 64-27 season-opening win.
"We knew coming in they were going to up the tempo," United coach Matt Mowery said. "We wanted to slow it down and we didn't do that. We couldn't handle their pressure."
Salem got after the Eagles early, forcing five turnovers in the first half. The Quakers utilized the giveaways to take a 23-9 after one complete quarter. Ryan Bush led the charge with 13 first-quarter points. He added nine more, including a 3-pointer, in the second. Salem led 39-13 at the half.
Bush would finish with a game-high 24 and five steals. He was one of 15 Quakers that got in the game. Thirteen would score.
"We got all 15 kids in tonight," Salem coach Rich Hart said. "That was a positive. Some younger guys got some game experience tonight."
The younger Quakers took over in the fourth quarter. By that time, Salem had built a 50-19 lead.
Overall, Hart was happy for his team's performance but not completely happy.
"We played pretty well tonight," he said. "But we still need to do a better job. We missed a lot of easy shots tonight. Give United credit. They play the four corners and do a good job on defense, but we have to make those shots."
Salem made up for the missed shots by controlling the offensive boards and giving themselves two or three more chances at the basket.
"That was a big thing," Hart said. "The offensive boards gave us extra shots and the defensive boards took the ball out of their hands, but there was a a couple times we didn't box out."
Big man Max Wolfgang finished with a game-high nine rebounds. He added six points on two put backs and a two-of-two performance at the foul line. He also had two blocked shots.
United was led Brett Albright. Albright sank three from the field and seven from line for 13 points. Garrett Beech added two 3-pointers for six.
"We worked hard tonight," Mowery said. "We worked hard and we didn't give up. We threw some guys to the wolves tonight against a very good, physical Salem team, but we worked hard we got some more game experience. There were positives. We're moving in the right direction."
"United is getting better and better," he said. "They are better than what they were last season and they will keep getting better."
The Eagles fell to 0-2 and next play East Palestine at home on Friday.
Salem is 1-0 and makes its NBC debut on Friday when West Branch comes to town.
"The NBC is a physical league," Hart said. "You have to play physical and you can't miss shots like we did tonight. We have to make our shots against West Branch and play as physical as we did tonight."
In J.V. action, the Quakers came away with a 58-7 victory.
Salem 64, United 27
United 9 4 6 8 - 27
Salem 23 16 11 14 - 64
UNITED SCORING: Garrett Beech 2-0-6, Brett Albright 3-7-13, Caleb Conser 1-0-2,
Kyle Widlicka 3-0-6. TEAM TOTALS: 9, 7-11, 27.
SALEM SCORING: Ryan Rush 10-3-24, Trent Kenreigh 3-0-7, Mike Madison 1-0-2, Brandon Webb 1-1-2, Shane Grim 2-0-4, Jon Fortney 1-1-3, Zak Wukovitch 1-0-0, Brandon Meyers 3-1-7, Blake Veglia 10-02, Zach Economous 1-0-2, Max Wolfgang 2-2-6, Anthony Shivers 0-2-2, Austin Frank 10-2. TEAM TOTALS: 27, 9-12, 64.
THREE POINTERS: Salem 2 (Kenreigh, Rush); United (Beech 2).