AUSTINTOWN - The Salem Lady Quakers closed the book on the 2011-12 season with a 66-40 loss to defending district champion Struthers in a Division II sectional game at Austintown Fitch on Monday.
Salem finishes a disappointing 4-17, but made strides this season.
"From Game 1, we've improved so much," Salem coach Renee Farina said. "We've improved as individuals and as a team. Our record might not reflect that as far as wins and losses go, but our players have made so much progress this season, especially our younger ones. They really stepped up and started to become more comfortable with their varsity spots and helped us overcome a lot of adversity this season with injuries and sicknesses. "
Like they had all season, the Salem underclassmen stepped in the season-ending loss. Megan Lehwald and Katherine Stiff both scored double digits for the Quakers. Stiff scored a team-high 14 and Lehwald scored 10. Lindsey Foster added seven.
"Our juniors, Lindsey Foster and Katherine Stiff, have made such tremendous improvements," Farina said. " Cassie Davidson, who made all-conference first team last year and was our leading scorer, went our before the midway mark and that was a huge, huge loss, but Katherine and Lindsey stepped up and tried to fill her roll. And Megan Lehwald and Tori Jones both came up big for us in different games."
The loss also brought with it the end of two Salem careers. Davdison and fellow senior Sierra Day both played their final season as Quakers.
"Cassie and Sierra (Day) are our two seniors and they have really, really improved," Farina said. "I was a volunteer coach when they were freshmen and I was there for their last games as seniors and they have come such a long way. Those two girls play very, very hard and if my younger girls take anything away from the time they spent with Cassie and Sierra, I really hope it's their work ethic."
Struthers was led by Ashleigh Ryan's 18 points. Halle Smreck added 15.
The Wildcats advance to face Poland Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
SALEM: 4 18 11 7 - 40
STRUTHERS: 18 14 21 13 - 66
SALEM SCORING: Megan Lehwald 5-0-10, Katherine Stiff 4-3-14, Julia Dundon 2-0-4, Lindsey Foster 3-1-7, Ciera Trybend 2-1-5. TEAM TOTALS:?16, 5, 40.
STRUTHERS SCORING: Ashleigh Ryan 5-7-18, Ashley Jefferson 5-0-10, McKenna Shives 2-0-5, Hannah Dubec 4-0-8, Brittany Zupko 4-2-10, Halle Smreck 7-0-15.
TEAM TOTALS:?27, 9, 66.
THREE POINTERS: Salem 3 (Stiff 3), Struthers 3 (Ryan, Shives, Smreck).