Moir Christmas Classic Notebook

Salisbury's Doug Faison, with paper, will coach his last game tonight and be replaed by Tony Hillian, right.. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.
Salisbury's Doug Faison, with paper, will coach his last game tonight and be replaed by Tony Hillian, right.. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.

The Moir Classic notebook ...
SALISBURY — They say coaches like to go out on top. If Salisbury’s girls win their 10th straight Moir Christmas Classic title tonight, Doug Faison certainly will.

Faison says his last game as Salisbury coach will be tonight. He said he was asked by first-year principal Avis Williams to resign.

“I guess I’m gone,” Faison shrugged before his semifinal win over Carson on Friday.

Faison said Williams told him the players weren’t playing together and weren’t organized.

“I told her, ‘You got me over here because you were having problems.’ I got them kinda learning each other.”

Faison, 72, a successful coach in boys and girls basketball, helped Jennifer Shoaf turn the Hornets into a state championship team a few years ago, and most recently, assisted Brooke Misenheimer in turning Carson into an NPC power and 23-game winner. He has been a popular and familiar face in Rowan County basketball for years. He took over for Chris McNeil this year.

He said he was approached by Williams before the tournament when the team was 4-4.

“She said I wasn’t doing anything with them,” Faison said. “She wasn’t satisfied. I said, ‘OK, I resign.’”

Shaking his head, he added, “She didn’t give me but seven games.”

Salisbury has looked impressive in winning two straight in the Moir and is 6-4 going into tonight.

“I gave them 100 percent in practice today and I’m going to give them 100 percent in the game,” Faison said.

When asked Friday about the situation, Williams would only say, “He resigned.”

“She said, ‘We want you to resign,’ ” Faison said.

“I didn’t feel good about it at all,” he continued. “But she’s the principal. I’m 72. If I was 22 or 32, it would probably hurt me more. But I’ve proven myself already.”

Williams said that Tony Hillian, one of Faison’s assistants, will take over the team.

ON THE AIR: Hall-of-Famer Howard Platt will call both championship games at Catawba’s Goodman Gymnasium on WSTP 1490 AM. He said he hopes to have Shoaf, now the coach at Parkland in Winston-Salem as his analyst for the girls game.

DYNASTY: Salisbury’s girls edged East Rowan 51-47 in Thursday’s first round for their seventh straight Moir tournament win against the Mustangs and took the lead in the overall series for the first time. Salisbury now holds a 10-9 edge against East in Moir games. The last time East beat Salisbury in the tournament was in 2000.

HORNETS BUZZING: When Salisbury’s boys beat South Rowan 62-54 in a first-round game, the Hornets extended a nice run in the tournament against South.

Salisbury hasn’t lost a Moir game to South since 2002, and the Hornets hold a 15-6 edge over South in tournament action.

LONG SHOT: West Rowan sophomore Celexus Long scored 28 points against South on Friday, hitting seven 3-pointers.

Where did that come from, coach Mike Gurley was asked.

Gurley said the slim Long was shying away in practice but recently things changed.

“I noticed the last three or four practices, he was throwing his 122 pounds right up in the middle of it,” Gurley said. “That confidence he took into the last two games.”

After Long led West with 16 against North in the first round, Gurley started him in a 73-71 loss to the Raiders.

“Just an instinct I had after last night,” Gurley said. “It wasn’t a demotion for anyone. It was a promotion for him.”

CROOKED SMILE: Neither South team has won the Moir since the 1990s.

Jason Crook, MVP when South’s boys won their only tournament title in 1995 for coach Bob Parker, was at Goodman Gym for Thursday’s South-Salisbury game, returning to Catawba for the first time since he was a hero for the Raiders.

Informed that he’s still mentioned in the Post once every year whenever the Moir preview comes out, Crook quipped, “Well, maybe I should pull for Salisbury to win today.”

Crook was only kidding. He’s still a Raider at heart.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW: Before Gurley came to Rowan County, he coached South coach Bryan Withers in AAU ball.

“I remember him throwing that 6-foot-5 body up against those 6-10s,” Gurley said. “His team plays lke him now.”

SHORT SERIES: When Carson’s boys beat East 46-36 in a first-round game, it gave the Cougars a 2-1 career edge over the Mustangs in the Moir event. Carson also holds a 3-1 advantage against South.

ROUGH STRETCH: East has by far the best lifetime record among the girls teams in the Moir tournament, but it’s been a rocky road lately. East has lost its first game in the tournament the last four years.

WE WANT CONOR: East missed one of its best players in Conor Honeycutt against Carson. He was out with the flu.

“Hurt us bad,” said East coach Trey Ledbetter, who added he could play today in the 1:30 p.m. consolation game against South.

TURNAROUND: Carson’s girls went 1-8 in their first four Moir tournaments, but they’ve been a big factor in the tournament the past three years.

Carson easily beat South 51-25 in the first round and now has won eight straight meetings against its neighbor.

TOUGH TIMES: North’s girls have dropped five straight Moir outings since beating South in a 2010 first-round game. The Cavaliers will try to change that in today’s fifth-place contest. North will be trying to break even in the event for the first time since 2006.

GETTING EVEN: Davie’s girls evened their lifetime Moir series with North at 7-all when the beat the Cavaliers in a first-round matchup.

LAMBERT UPDATE: South Rowan senior Nathan Lambert, who broke an ankle in football and had his photo taken with the South team in preseason, said he is not coming back. He said he is almost 100 percent and isn’t going to chance an injury before baseball.

SURGERY: South Rowan forward Lynsey Corriher underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL on Friday. A standout for South in volleyball as well as basketball, the best-case scenario would be Corriher getting back for some volleyball next fall.

Corriher was injured in South’s fourth game. She had scored 30 points, and the Raiders miss her offense and her post defense.

MUSTANG MODELS: East’s girls may be the most fun-loving bunch in the county. On Friday, many of the Mustangs came out with white scarves around their heads.

“They’re like the Maybelline girls,” coach Danielle Porter grinned. “They have to sass it up.”

MATCHUPS: West’s girls are 13-8 against Davie in the Moir after squeaking out a semifinal win on Friday.

East’s girls take on North in today’s fifth-place game. East holds a 13-5 all-time edge in that Moir matchup.

The last time Salisbury and West met in a Moir girls final, it was ugly. The Hornets won 69-29 in 2009.

Davie’s boys have won nine of their 14 matchups with North Rowan in the Moir.

Salisbury’s boys meet Carson for third place. Carson has beaten Salisbury twice this season.

East’s boys battle South for fifth place. East holds a 10-8 edge on the Raiders in previous Moir meetings.

BRONZE MEDAL: The Carson girls take on Davie today for third.

Carson had a disappointing loss to Salisbury in the semis, while Davie experienced heartbreak to West.

“We were really not happy with how we played,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “Saturday, we’ll be playing another good team, but it’s a chance for us to prove we can play better.”

Carson senior Allison Blackwell enters the game with 988 career points.

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