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The Salem Lions broke out of tonight’s Class 3A Sectional 30 matchup with perennial foe Brownstown, with a 7-0 start.

The Lions outpaced the Braves, 28-24 at the half and at one point with about 3 minutes left, were leading by 6 points.

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Xavier Haendiges shooting the game winning basket. Courtesy of Derek Smith, SHS

Missed shots and turnovers got the Braves within 2 and then the game tied at 63-63. Xavier Haendiges scored the buzzer-beater shot to lift the Lions over the Braves.

The Lions last won a sectional title in 2009 in a win over Crawford County.

Salem has made only three appearances in IHSAA regionals – the first in 1930 against Bedford; then in 1939 against New Albany and finally in 1971 against Huntingburg.

Brownstown last won a sectional title in 2013 in a game against Charlestown.

The Braves made it to the regionals in 2004 and 2009 – both times against Southridge. They went on to semi-state both of those years – playing Bedford in 2004 and Southport in 2009.

Salem will play the winner of the second semi-final game — Charlestown [16-7] vs. Silver Creek [19-4] tomorrow night at 7p.

Mark “Bubba” Abbott and Jason Pepmeier will be calling the game on WSLM 97.9 FM.