Salisbury boys hang on against 4A Pinecrest
SALISBURY — It’s starting to look like the Salisbury boys basketball team isn’t going away anytime soon.
The Hornets are a basketball version of “The Producers” — a production that was supposed to flop but has come off as an unexpected hit.
“We’re a young team and a lot of people in the county doubted us,” sophomore guard DeShawn Troutman said Friday night after Salisbury knocked off 4A Pinecrest 54-49. “But we’ve stayed grounded. And it feels like we’re only going to get better.”
Winning coach Jason Causby was somewhat critical of Salisbury (6-2). The Hornets of old would have put this one away early, but SHS suffered too many turnovers, played reckless at times and never delivered a convincing knockout punch.
“We made some bad choices, mostly in transition,” Causby said after Salisbury bounced back from Tuesday’s unsettling performance against Carson. “And it was frustrating, but I can’t be mad because it was just guys trying to make plays.”
Salisbury has won five of its last six games, thanks largely to the yeoman-like work of forward D.J. Alexander. The 6-foot-4 sophomore contributed a team-high 14 points and reeled in 12 rebounds.
“This game says we’ve still got a lot of fight in us,” he said in the festive SHS locker room. “We’ve already faced a lot of adversity and we’re still standing. We just had to find it in our hearts to keep playing hard.”
Troutman had 13 points for Salisbury, including 11 in the second half. The Hornets led 26-20 at the break, courtesy of a rainbow 3-pointer by reserve guard Alex Yang with 16 seconds on the clock.
Salisbury had trouble shaking the visiting Patriots (1-5) until Troutman opened the second half with a floater down the lane and Alexander followed with an uncontested, runaway layup.
“We wanted to pick the pace up,” Causby said. “But we never really had them where we wanted them.”
He’s right. Even when Corban Usry drained a 3-ball from the right corner, Troutman scored on an open layup and Usry sank two free throws — providing a 49-33 lead with 5:46 to play — nothing was secured.
“We still weren’t rebounding and needed to pick up our defense,” said Usry.
Troutman’s layup came with 6:12 remaining and was Salisbury’s final bucket. Pinecrest, which received 20 points from sharpshooter Kardashian Ragin and 14 from Stephon Stephens, charged back with a 10-0 spurt that trimmed Salisbury’s lead to six.
“Poor shot selection on our part,” Causby said. “We’ll figure it out, but I’m sure we didn’t have the amount of assists you want to have in a win. There were a lot of drives, a lot of one-on-one stuff. Our offense is predicated on the dribble-drive. You dribble-drive to get guys open, but tonight we were driving for ourselves.”
SHS stumbled across the finish line by converting 5 of 9 free throws in the closing 3:19.
“I just think we should have won by more than we did,” Troutman concluded.
PINECREST (49) — Ragin 20, Stephens 14, Krapp 6, Ivey 3, Williamson 2, Ortiz 2, Markes 2.
SALISBURY (54) — Alexander 14, Troutman 13, Canipe 8, Usry 7, Fazia 4, A.Yang 3, Rayner 2, Brown 2, Davis 1, Oats, J.Yang, Wilson, Payne.
Pinecrest 8 12 11 18 — 49
Salisbury 12 14 14 14 — 54