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Prep Basketball: Salisbury boys 68, Lexington 44

By David Shaw

Salisbury Post

LEXINGTON — Tuesday must have been “Don’t Mess With Joe Allen Night” in Lexington.

At the both ends of the court, the face that kept showing up belonged to Salisbury’s muscular senior forward.

“He has a tremendous knack for finishing around the bucket,” coach Jason Causby said after the Hornets gained a 68-44 Central Carolina Conference victory. “If Joe gets position in the post and we get the ball to him, he’s gonna create a high-percentage shot.”

Allen — a 6-foot-4 wide-body — created enough of them to score 28 points as Salisbury (11-8, 6-2) remained tied for first in the standings.

“I came in focused,” he said. “We all did. I knew we were going to win as soon as we got onto the court. We went hard in warmups, so you just knew what was coming.”

Allen added nine rebounds for the Hornets, who pulled away in the fourth quarter against Lexington (8-11, 4-4), a team that featured 6-8 junior Darius Davis, his 6-7 twin brother Dejwan Davis and 6-5 Devin McCall.

“We tried to always have someone playing behind and in front of their post guys,” Causby said. “We weren’t double-teaming, but it was kind of a soft-sag. I don’t think they hurt us a lot inside.”

They didn’t because of Allen and long-armed Brandon Abel, who contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Doug Campbell scored a quiet 13 points — nine came in the second half — while Thaddeus Williams had seven assists.

But it was Allen who kept finding the spotlight. He opened the second quarter with a soft-touch layup, then swept across the lane for a hook shot that gave SHS a

23-15 lead.

“I played AAU with Joe,” Campbell said. “And I’ve seen what he can do. He can score in bunches. If he comes in and focuses every night he can take over a game.”

Allen was no ordinary Joe in the fourth quarter. Salisbury went 13-for-15 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes — and Allen turned both misses into stickback baskets. He tallied 11 points in the last period, finishing one shy of his season-high. Included was a 3-point play with 2:42 remaining that gave the visitors a 58-42 lead.

“Without a doubt, he’s a good player,” said Lexington coach Roscoe Turner. “I think because of him we didn’t penetrate very well. We didn’t make people play us. We did a much better job on him in our earlier game (in the conference opener).”

Allen was a non-factor that night, netting 12 points in Lexington’s 62-54 win. Last night he was simply a load. “I felt comfortable with pretty much anything he did,” Causby said.

More importantly, the Hornets are slowly developing what Campbell called “a championship mentality.” He added: “As a team, we knew how big this challenge was. We came in, we expected to win and win big.”

Salisbury (68) — Allen 28, Campbell 13, Abel 11, Phifer 6, Williams 4, Rose 4, White 2, Ali.

Lexington (44) — Holmes 11, Mabe 6, McCall 5, Da.Davis 5, Wall 4, Glenn 4, Leak 3, Kelly 3, Craven 2, Bowes 1.

Salisbury 19 14 14 21 — 68

Lexington 15 8 14 7 — 44

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Contact David Shaw at dshaw@salisburypost.com.

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