Prep Basketball: East Davidson girls 49, Salisbury 47

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

THOMASVILLE — East Davidson’s Kristyn Holt sank an open shot from the right side with one second left to give the unbeaten Golden Eagles a

49-47 victory and Salisbury’s girls a rare opportunity to learn from a loss.

Coach Jennifer Shoaf’s Hornets (3-2) don’t lose often. In their previous 100 outings heading into Tuesday’s CCC opener, they were 91-9.

“Salisbury’s a power school, not just in the conference but in the state,” said East Davidson coach Terry Allmon, who snapped an

11-game losing streak to the Hornets. “They’re so quick, so good. Their defense is unbelievable.”

East Davidson’s Annas were equally unbelievable. Freeman, the tall Anna, had 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine thunderous blocks.

Dellapenta, the small Anna, was terrific with the ball, played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls and buried a game-tying, ice-water 3-pointer with 45 seconds left. In a classic game, her shot was the defining moment, even bigger than Holt’s buzzer-beater. If she misses, the Golden Eagles (8-0) lose.

“I was open, so I took it,” Dellapenta said. “It rattled around, and all I could say was, ‘Please, please go in.’ ”

It went in, and the senior was headed for her first victory over the Hornets.

Salisbury, which got 15 points from De’ Rya Wylie, 12 from Kwameshia Hicks and 10 from Shi-Heria Shipp, struggled the first five minutes and the last five. In between, the Hornets’ speed and defensive intensity made them the superior team.

“But I think our youth and inexperience really showed,” Shoaf said. “Right now, we play our best at a frenzied pace. We’ve still got a lot to learn as far as executing when we’ve got a lead and there are going to be some growing pains. This team just has to learn from the losses.”

It was all East Davidson early. Freeman dominated as the Golden Eagles sprinted to an 11-2 lead over the dazed Hornets (3-2).

“They came out ready, and I thought we were too, but they had that crowd, the home-court advantage,” Shipp said. “Then we stopped them and came back.”

Hicks’ soft 3-pointer lifted the Hornets’ confidence. They started swarming defensively and running relentlessly, and it became a dogfight.

Freeman’s 17 points on

8-for-10 shooting gave the Golden Eagles a 28-25 halftime lead, but Salisbury had weathered a wicked storm.

Then Salisbury surrounded Freeman with small, quick defenders and prevented her from taking a single shot in the third quarter.

“Salisbury’s really good, and one was holding on Anna, another was sneaking in from the back,” Dellapenta said. “We couldn’t lob the ball to her.”

It was 34-34 when Dellapenta got her fourth personal foul with 2:05 left in the third quarter. After she sat down, the Hornets closed the quarter with eight unanswered points by Wylie and Shipp to take charge of the game.

Dellapenta returned to start the fourth quarter, whipped the ball to Freeman for an easy bucket, then stole the ball for a layup that cut the Hornets’ lead to 42-38 with 5:56 remaining.

Salisbury tried to milk the clock most of the final quarter, but turnovers and missed free throws eventually caught up with Shoaf’s team.

“I still would do it all over again,” she said. “We were tired, but we had the lead. We just made a few bad passes, did some silly things.”

Freeman’s and-one at the 2:14 mark cut the Hornets’ lead to one point. Hicks answered with a sweet turnaround in the lane, arcing the ball over Freeman’s extended arms to put the Hornets ahead 47-44 with 1:22 remaining.

After an East Davidson miss, Salisbury couldn’t cash in on a one-and-one free throw with 55 seconds left. Ten seconds after that, Dellapenta was open on the right wing and nailed a big-time 3 to tie it.

Freeman rejected a shot by Hicks with 32 seconds left to set up the winning possession.

Salisbury’s defensive focus was on Freeman and Dellapenta. Holt, who hadn’t scored, got a clean look from about 15 feet and knocked down a shot she’ll remember the rest of her life.

“Someone else (besides the Annas) was going to have to shoot it for them, but she made it,” Shoaf said.

“She just made it.”

SALISBURY (47) — Wylie 15, Hicks 12, Shipp 10, S. Phifer 8, Knox 2, Rice, Clinding, Williams. K. Phifer, Gallagher.

East davidson (49) — Freeman 26, Dellapenta 13, Cutshaw 6, Holt 2, Merritt 2, Luck, Nelson.

Salisbury 13 12 17 5 — 47

E. Davidson 17 11 6 15 — 49

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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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