WINDER -- It's becoming a regular occurrence for the Salem boys basketball team to qualify for the state tournament. Dedrick Turner scored 19 points as Salem defeated Winder-Barrow 64-57 in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament at Apalachee High School on Tuesday. The win secures a spot in the state tournament for the third consecutive year for the Seminoles, who before the 2010-11 season had never competed in the state tournament.
"A couple years ago we talked about starting a tradition and I think we've started the tradition," said first-year coach Noah Harrell, who was an assistant on the first two state tournament teams. "Senior class, three years in a row they've led us to a state spot."
That senior group includes Turner, who not only led in scoring but shut down Winder's Travis Demeritte in the second half. Demeritte had 20 first-half points, but going against Turner in the second half was held to just six more points.
"Turner stepped up and shut him down," Harrell said.
Meanwhile, Demyon Greenwood, a junior post player, had a big night offensively, contributing 18 points.
"(Greenwood) was huge," said Harrell. "They didn't have a post player that could really guard him and he did a great job of finishing at the basket each time."
Salem will play the winner of No. 3 seed Clarke Central and No. 6 seed Loganville in Friday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal matchup.
In Wednesday's quarterfinals, Brianna Bush had 15 points as the Salem girls also secured a state berth with a 59-40 win over crosstown rival Heritage. The Seminoles, who won their sixth consecutive game, will play top seed Flowery Branch in Friday's semifinals at 7 p.m.
"It feels really good for these kids because we've had a lot of obstacles this year with injury and things of that nature," Seminoles coach Rocchone Dilligard said. "It was really good for them to persevere; it's a testament to their hard work."
Bush was helped by Shay Tarver, who scored 11 points, and Ayanna Mitchell (10 points).
"When you're being able to spread it around ... you're able to take advantage of whatever the other team gives you," Dilligard said. "Passing the ball -- we're very unselfish in that nature -- to spread it across the board. When everybody is contributing, it's much more difficult (to stop)."
Heritage, which finished 11-15, got 16 points from Aujana Dawkins and 11 from Che Hardaway.