Moir Christmas Classic: Salisbury girls 74, Davie 30
By Bret Strelow
Bubbles Phifer acted in a manner befitting her nickname and reputation.
Phifer, the reigning Rowan County Player of the Year who sat out Salisbury’s previous two games with a left foot injury, led the top-seeded Hornets to a 74-30 victory against Davie County in a Sam Moir Christmas Classic semifinal Monday at Catawba.
Phifer finished with team-high totals of 21 points, eight rebounds and five steals in 19 minutes. She went 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and hit all six of her free-throw attempts.
“I kind of felt like she would have a good game,” Salisbury coach Andrew Mitchell said. “The couple practices last week and (Monday) morning at shootaround, she was real bubbly and live.”
Phifer averaged 14.3 points in Salisbury’s first seven games but limped around Central Davidson’s gym in street clothes Dec. 19. She also missed the Hornets’ 64-47 victory against Davie three days later.
Phifer scored seven of Salisbury’s first 11 points against the War Eagles on Monday. Davie trailed 31-15 at the break, and two baskets from Phifer started an 18-0 run to begin the second half.
“It wasn’t fun just watching the games,” Phifer said. “I was real hyped up to get out there and play again.
“I love the game, so being out and then coming back in, it was just a lot of enthusiasm to get ready to play.”
Shi-Heria Shipp also reached double figures with 16 points, and she matched De’Rya Wylie’s total of four steals. Wylie and Ayanna Holmes scored eight points apiece.
Salisbury (10-0) scored only two points during a four-minute stretch late in the opening half, and both teams shot worse than 37 percent in the first 16 minutes.
“We were very concerned with offense,” Mitchell said. “I told them if we were going to be angry we needed to be mad at the fact we had 12 turnovers and only five assists. They shot (36.8) percent from the field, and they were getting some easy looks. I told them good teams will come together and create some offense from their defense.”
The War Eagles (5-7) committed eight turnovers and went 0-for-6 during the first six minutes of the third quarter, and a field goal from Shipp gave the Hornets a 49-15 advantage. Davie’s Kellie Brown scored nine of her team-high 13 points in the final two quarters, but the Hornets shot 17-for-27 (63 percent) in the second half and held Davie to a 4-for-21 showing.
“I felt like we kind of shut down defensively and let them get the game out of reach,” Davie coach Debbie Evans said. “We played them last week, and I felt like we played better throughout. They made a run at us and we kind of stuck it out and kept the intensity and stayed in the game. Tonight, I didn’t feel like we were able to do that.”
DAVIE COUNTY (30) ó Brown 13, Evans 5, Smoot 3, J.Dixon 3, Keiser 2, K.Dixon 2, Stewart 2, Turner, Stevenson, Gadson.
SALISBURY (74) ó B.Phifer 21, Shipp 16, Wylie 8, Ay.Holmes 8, Clinding 6, Heilig 6, Phifer 4, As.Holmes 2, Young 2, Miller 1, Ross.
Davie Co. 8 7 6 9 ó 30
Salisbury 17 14 24 19 ó 74