Val Temin had 21 points for Swampscott, but a lack of offensive execution in the first and fourth quarters while leaving sharpshooters open on defense resulted in a 57-53 loss for the Big Blue.
Swampscott turned the ball over five times in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, leading to two key three-pointers by Salem’s Billy Muse that eventually made the difference in the final minutes.
Two Stephen Bowers free throws reduced Salem’s lead to 53-50 with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter. But a Christian Dunston jumpshot, followed by two free throws made by Muse, made things too difficult for Swampscott to recover.
The Big Blue offense had trouble getting started, missing several layups and jumpshots until the 3:29 mark in the first quarter, when Dan Trentsch hit a free throw. On the other hand, Salem was executing offensively immediately, hitting three three-pointers in the first quarter alone. The Witches hit nine threes total.
However, Swampscott did recover in the second and third quarters. Thanks to Chad Nelson’s six points in the second quarter, the Big Blue were able to pull within four points by halftime. Trentsch, Temin, and Bowers combined for 14 points in the third, and almost took a 41-40 lead into the fourth quarter, as a result of a Bowers jumper with 28 seconds remaining in the third. It wasn’t meant to be, however — a Marvin Baez three-pointer with 10 seconds left put the Witches up by 2.
Salem never gave the lead up again, partially because of Swampscott’s sloppy offensive play to begin the final quarter.
Bowers finished with 12 points, while Trentsch had nine and Nelson had 8.
Freshman guard Joey Ragusa did not play in the game, with Coach Fucile saying it was a “team decision.”
In order to make the playoff tournament, Swampscott must go 5-1 in their remaining matchups. The Big Blue travel to Lynn English on Tuesday, and play Winthrop, Danvers, Gloucester, Saugus, and Marblehead in the next three weeks to finish the season.