Prep Basketball: Salisbury boys 74, Davie 48

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

By David Shaw
Don’t talk to Jason Causby and the Salisbury boys basketball team about momentum.
The Hornets have won eight straight games heading into next week’s Christmas tournament ó but they chose to offer a brief history lesson Monday night.
“Last year we were 3-6, seeded fifth and coming off the worst game of the year,” Causby said after Salisbury (8-1) picked up a 74-48 non-league win over visiting Davie County. “And we won the tournament. So while it’s a good place to be, I don’t ever relax on that momentum thing. It’s my job to keep these guys focused. We’re staying humble.”
After a cautious start, SHS routed Davie (4-6) for the second time this season.
“This was important even though it wasn’t a conference game,” Brandon Abel said after topping all scorers with 17 points. “We still needed to keep up our intensity going into the Christmas tournament.”
There was little chance of stumbling after the Hornets drained five 3-pointers in the first half. The last came on Jahaan Hailey’s bomb from beyond the top of the key as the buzzer sounded, giving Salisbury a 35-26 halftime edge.
“The coach told me to just keep shooting,” said Hailey, who finished with four 3-balls and 12 points. “And I had enough confidence to keep firing.”
Davie coach Mike Absher said his defensive scheme was designed the take away that outside shot.
“Our plan was to jam that zone out there,” he said. “We did a good job for the most part. But they made enough three’s to make a difference.”
Davie held an early 5-2 lead on a penetrating drive by Jamal Mayfield and a 3-pointer from the right corner by sniper Drew Absher, its two leading scorers. They combined for 17 points in the first half but totaled only six in the third and fourth periods.
“Good basketball teams play defense. They play it well and play it with passion,” said Causby. “And to this point, we’ve played pretty good defense. I’m not a yeller and a screamer. At halftime I just laid it out for them. I told them, ‘This is where we’re not playing with enough intensity.’ And they rose to that challenge.”
Sparked by Causby’s spiel, SHS limited Davie to only 10 field goals and 22 points in the second half. By the middle of the third period ó after Abel hit a 3-pointer from 20 feet out, Alex Weant made a layup and Hailey buried his final long ball ó the Hornets owned an 18-point lead.
“They’re a great team,” said Mike Absher. “They’re big, long, rangy and physical. And quick. I felt we were right there at halftime, but we just game them too many second chances.”
Davie got as close as 59-46 on a fourth-quarter floater by James Mayfield. Salisbury used a couple of nice plays by sophomore Darien Rankin ó first a driving layup on an isolation play from the left wing, then a spinning drive though the lane ó to build a 67-46 lead with 2:40 remaining.
“We had to keep our focus,” Rankin said after finishing with 15 points. “We had to take their heart and crush it ó and keep doing what we had to do.”
Davie (48) ó .Absher 12, Jamal Mayfield 11, Dillard 7, James Mayfield 6, Taylor 4, Harris 4, Morion 2, Dulin 2.salisbury (74) ó Ablel 17, Rankin 15, Hailey 12, Phillips 9, Williams 8, Weant 7. Knox 2, Morris 2, Do 2, Almeida, Lingard, Wood.Davie 10 16 14 8 ó 48
Salisbury 12 23 18 21 ó 74