Salem sweeps first round

Montigo Alford makes a move to the basket in the first half against the Vancouver Volcanoes in game two of the first round playoffs on Saturday, June 4. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)

It may have been their first trip to the postseason, but the Salem Capitals weren’t trying to spend any extra time in the first round.

The Capitals closed out the sweep of the Vancouver Volcanoes with a 111-101 win at home on Saturday, June 4, in game two of the three-game series. 

Montigo Alford led the Capitals with 29 points and nine assists as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that hampered him through the second half of the season.

“I’m getting back to at least 95%,” Alford said. “That ankle injury really took a toll on me, but I’m getting healthy. Starting to feel good.”

Alford shot 10-for-19 from the field, 2-for-5 from three. 

Vincent Boumann added in 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Capitals. The Salem center was 10-for-16 from the field, including 1-for-1 from deep. Boumann was dominant in game one Friday night in Vancouver with a 30 and 15 performance in the 97-79 win. 

But Boumann was certainly frustrated from the lack of whistles Saturday, only shooting six free throws on the night. And the frustration showed on a couple of occasions. 

In the second quarter, Boumann picked up a technical foul, and a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter. If the officials had the benefit of replay, they may have rescinded the flagrant. Boumann admits it was a hard foul with a definite wind up, but he got mostly the ball on the actual contact. 

Boumann’s teammates rallied around Boumann through the growing frustration, putting an arm around him and reminding him that they need him.

“I owe a lot of credit to them just for trying to keep me sane,” Boumann said. “I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to keep calm for them.” 

Jahlin Smith had 19 points for the Capitals on one of the better shooting performances of the season for them, 8-for-10 from the field, 2-for-3 from three, along with eight rebounds and three blocks. It was a turnaround from game one where Smith struggled with his shot, going just 2-for-10 on Friday. 

The Capitals never trailed on Saturday, and nearly ran away with the game early. They were up 19 early in the second quarter, but the Volcanoes closed out the half and opened the third quarter on a 21-5 run to close the deficit to one. 

It’s a problem they’ve had all year, Stevens said. 

“We have these little mistakes that we’ve made throughout the entire season where we’ll have a lead and we’ll make three or four careless passes, turnovers, not boxing out,” Stevens said. 

Stevens also placed some of the blame on himself, calling his decision to sit Tyler West Jr. at the end of the second quarter “a bad idea.” After that decision, Jaylyn Richardson had three 3-pointers to close out the half for Vancouver. 

But the Capitals responded to the Volcanoes run with one of their own, getting up by as much as 22 early in the fourth.

Salem will now face the California Sea-Kings in the second round. Game one is in Salem on Wednesday, June 8, at 7:30. Game two is in San Jose Saturday, June 11, at 5 p.m. If necessary, game three will also be in San Jose on Sunday, June 12, at 5 p.m.

Jahlin Smith finishes a dunk against the Vancouver Volcanoes on Saturday, June 4, at the Salem Armory Auditorium in game two of the first round of the TBL playoffs. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)