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Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 67, West Rowan 55

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

Salisbury’s girls are good enough to win even when things go wrong.

The Hornets played a half without floor general Shi-Heria Shipp and the fourth quarter without leading scorer Kwameshia Hicks, who is adjusting to a new knee brace, and they ran into up-and-down West Rowan when the Falcons were razor-sharp.

Salisbury (18-2) still won 67-55 on Wednesday to push its winning streak to 15 games. The Hornets have won their last six meetings with West.

DéRya Wylie led the Hornets with 16 points, while Lakendra Williams scored 12.

Brooke Taylor scored 15 for West. Rachel Graham had 12 and Wendi Adams 11.

Salisbury won with accurate free-throw shooting, which is supposed to be a weakness. The Hornets shot 12-for-14 from the line in the second half.

West (10-9) was 2-for-12 from the stripe in the third quarter when it had a chance to make things really tight.

“We talk a lot that if you let teams hang around, bad things can happen,” West coach Bob Blake said. “They let us hang around tonight, and bad things almost happened to them.”

West trailed 49-43 after three quarters, but the Hornets decided things with an 8-0 run to start the fourth.

“West gave us a run for our money,” Wylie said. “But we knew there at the start of the fourth quarter, we couldn’t let them get back into it.”

When Shipp kept her warmups on, West’s confidence rose. The talented guard arrived for the game 15 minutes later than the designated time, so she sat.

“It’s a hard lesson for a kid,” Salisbury coach Jennifer Shoaf said. “But rules are rules, and my job isn’t just wins and losses, it’s teaching right and wrong. If they’re late for practice they run, but if they’re late for a game, they can’t run, so they sit a half.”

Salisbury shot 50 percent in the first half for a 38-26 lead, and it appeared Shipp might not be needed. But Taylor got hot, and West cut the gap to single digits in the third quarter.

“It’s the first game since I got hurt (at North Rowan in West’s fifth game) that the shots were falling,” Taylor said. “And we were playing better man-to-man defense than we’ve played.”

Shoaf wanted Shipp to start the second half, but Shipp declined.

“I asked her to go in, but she was pouting and moping a little,” Shoaf said. “But then in the third quarter, we were getting some fouls, you could feel momentum changing toward West, and I told her, ‘You’ve got to play.’ She lolly-gagged over to the scorer’s table (with 3:33 left in the third quarter), but I was hoping she’d step it up when she got out there, that she’d understand it was over and done with and play hard.

“She did well. She changed the atmosphere of the game because she could post up their guards, and she’s so hard to shoot over.”

Taylor didn’t score in the fourth quarter, largely because of Shipp. Shipp also led Salisbury’s decisive surge to begin the fourth quarter. She scored inside, then found Bubbles Phifer for a layup. After Shanae Knox got a layup, Shipp stole the ball and took it home for a 57-43 lead.

“You’re never happy with a loss, but this game was great preparation for us for the rest of the season,” Blake said. “Salisbury’s 15 to 20 points better than most everybody we’ll play from here on out.”

West Rowan (55) — Taylor 15, Graham 12, Adams 11, Sawyer 9, Cox 6, Turner 2, Stout, Simmons, Foster, Kraft.

Salisbury (67) — Wylie 16, Williams 12, Rice 9, B. Phifer 8, Shipp 7, Knox 7, Hicks 6, N. Phifer, Clinding, Gallagher.

W. Rowan 12 14 17 12 — 55

Salisbury 20 18 11 18 — 67

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

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