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Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 41, Ledford 36

By Ronnie Gallagher

Salisbury Post

De’Rya Wylie stood on the foul line with four seconds left, her team up only 39-36.

“I was nervous,” she said. “My hands were shaking.”

On the Ledford bench, coach John Ralls thought out loud, “Four seconds is a long time.”

But his Panthers didn’t have one last chance at a major Central Carolina Conference upset because Wylie drained both free throws for a 41-36 Salisbury victory Tuesday night.

It was the Hornets’ first test in a while, having beaten their last three opponents by an average of 50 points.

“Those games don’t necessarily help teams,” said Salisbury coach Jennifer Shoaf. “In fact, they probably hurt us.”

Ralls hasn’t won all of those state championships for nothing. His Panthers, injured and inexperienced, prevented Salisbury from getting into its running game. The Hornets never scored more than three straight baskets against Ralls’ gameplan.

” He’s a good coach,” Shoaf said. “We knew they’d be fundamentally sound and very disciplined about what they were trying to do.”

Because of that, Salisbury (13-2,

4-1) was the team that struggled.

“Tonight, we showed we were totally rattled in a tight situation with intense defense,” Shoaf said. “Ledford put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t handle it well.”

It started out well enough. Salisbury led 8-2, but was up only 23-19 at the half.

“We didn’t slow it down on purpose,” Ralls said. “That’s just the way we have to play.”

The three straight buckets came at the beginning of the second half as Wylie, Shi-Heria Shipp and Shanae Knox all scored inside for a 29-19 win.

Ledford (10-6, 3-2) never captured the lead but stayed close enough to keep Shoaf fidgeting on the sidelines.

Two Shipp assists to Knox and Kwameshia Hicks made it 39-32 with six minutes left. But when the Hornets slowed it down, turnovers ensued, giving the Panthers hope.

Erin Hanner missed a free throw and Shoaf held her breath as a 3-point attempt to tie just missed. With 10.3 seconds left, Salisbury got the ball in bounds and Wylie sealed the Hornets’ 10th straight win.

“Defensively, we played well,” said Shoaf. “You hold people in the 30s and that’s pretty good. The problem was, we didn’t shoot well. Hopefully, tonight was our bad episode.”

*

NOTES: It doesn’t get any easier tonight as the Hornets travel to North Rowan. … Hicks was the only double-figure scorer with 11.

Ledford (36) — Hanner 11, Morgan 6, Smith 5, Pope 4, Horne 3, Samm 3, Saintsing 2, Caldwell 2, Ballard, Callicutt.

Salisbury (41) — Hicks 11, Wylie 7, Knox 6, Williams 5, Gallagher 5, Shipp 5, B. Phifer 2, Rice, Clinding, N. Phifer.

Ledford 10 9 10 7 — 36

Salisbury 10 13 12 6 — 41

*

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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