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Enterprise Yellow Jackets slide by Salem 46-40

The Enterprise Yellow Jackets rose up late in the game to pull away from visiting Salem, holding the Wildcats scoreless in the final two minutes to regain the lead and walk out with a 46-40 victory Monday.

With the clock spiraling down, a hard-playing Salem team seemed to wilt before a turned-up Enterprise defense that forced missed shots and stopped drives on the basket with fouls that sent off-target free throw shooters to the line. The Yellow Jackets managed to sink just enough of their late shots to open a gap in the scoreboard, forcing the Wildcats to foul in the final minute as Enterprise held the ball for the win.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win and a moment for the kids to learn,” said Enterprise coach Shane Adams. “I’m proud that they played hard and made the plays they needed at the end.”

The contest was not assured in the fourth quarter. Salem buried a big 3-point shot with 4:22 remaining to increase their lead, but Enterprise junior Peytin Jergins and senior Cade Feltus took over the Jackets’ offense, scoring on back-to-back breaks to tie the game.

With 1:47 left to play, Jergins found a crease and came sailing into the lane, knocking over a Salem defender on his way to the rim for a layup and drawing a blocking foul. He converted his and-one to give Enterprise the 43-40 lead.

“They were playing man, and he was in the way,” Jergins said of running over the Wildcat defender.

Both teams traded missed shots before Feltus drove into an opening inside to draw a foul, hitting one of his two free throws to increase the lead to 44-40. By then the damage was done — Enterprise held the ball as Salem went for desperation fouls, and Jergins stepped back to the stripe with 21 seconds remaining to ice the 46-40 victory.

It was an impressive end for Enterprise, who started the game slow and allowed Salem to dominate the first quarter and jump out to a 24-14 lead. The Jackets woke up for the second quarter and annihilated the Wildcats offense 11-1. Strong defensive play from both teams resulted in Salem taking a close third 8-7, and then Enterprise doubled up the Bobcats in the final quarter 14-7.

Jergins finished the game with 23 points, going four of five from the free throw line and leading the team with six steals. Feltus was second in scoring with 13, and along with senior teammate JeVante Jenkins, led the team in rebounds with eight.

Feltus missed all nine of this 3-point attempts but kept firing to make Salem account for him. Inside he shot 60 percent.

“We tried to play smart and take high percentage shots, and we had enough patience to slow them down on defense,” he said. “I was open for some of those threes, but I gotta make them.”

Freshman Dylan Carter scored four points, Jenkins accounted for three, sophomore John Burns scored two and senior Ryan Amic scored a single point on a free throw.

The team shot 38 percent from the floor, hitting 18 of 48 field goal attempts, and Jergins made the Jackets’ only connection from past the arch. The Jackets were seven of 13 shooting free throws for 54 percent.