Prep Basketball: East Davidson giorls 52, Salisbury 46
By Mike London
A dozen calls were bitterly disputed in a battle of unbeaten girls teams, but everyone agreed East Davidson senior Alyssa Cutshaw made the pivotal shot.Salisbury led by three before Cutshaw hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:10 remaining. That clutch shot ignited a game-closing 9-0 run that lifted the Golden Eagles to a 52-46 CCC victory in an electric, regional-final atmosphere Friday.
“I was scared a little, but I just knew someone had to make a shot for us, and I took my chance,” Cutshaw said.
Catawba-bound Elizabeth Merritt made the go-ahead bucket for the Golden Eagles (12-0, 2-0) when she followed up Cutshaw’s missed free throw with 48 seconds left, and Anna Freeman (19 points, 13 rebounds) finished off the home team at the foul line.
Salisbury (11-1, 2-1) suffered only its 10th loss in its last 102 games. Four have been to East Davidson, the defending 2A champ and the top-ranked team in the NCPreps.com media poll.
The Hornets, ranked second, missed their first 16 field-goal attempts and their last six. That told the tale.
“You’ve got to make shots, and in the second half we missed seven or eight that were point-blank” Salisbury coach Andrew Mitchell said. “East Davidson is good, they know what they want to do and they did it. Still, if we make some shots, we win.”
The Hornets shot 23.3 percent for the game.
Senior Shi-Heria Shipp led Salisbury with 17 points. Bubbles Phifer had all 12 of her points in the second half.
Freeman had two fouls in the first four minutes and sat down, but the Hornets couldn’t take advantage. They trailed 7-3 after a quarter.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do ó sag off everyone except Bubbles ” Mitchell said. “We couldn’t make our shots, but we did play very well defensively.”Shipp scored eight points in the second quarter, and the Hornets led 21-17 at halftime.
“Shipp is one of the best in the state, and Salisbury has a phenomenal team,” East Davidson coach Terry Allmon said. “Athletic and deep. One girl comes off, and another goes in who’s even faster.”
Phifer heated up, but the tide swung back to East Davidson in the third quarter when Freeman took over the glass on both ends.
Hornet fans were fired up after a collision between East Davidson’s Stacy Hicks and Shipp resulted in a three-point play for Hicks and the fourth foul on Shipp. She sat down with the Golden Eagles leading 34-30 late in the third quarter.
East Davidson led by five with 6:05 remaining, but Shipp returned for a quick assist and a layup. After a disputed out-of-bounds call, Phifer nailed a 3 from deep in the corner. The Hornets led 42-40, and the packed gym swayed with noise.
Shipp hit two free throws with 1:45 remaining for a 46-43 lead, and the Hornets appeared in command. After a timeout, Cutshaw drilled her game-swinging 3-pointer.
“I’m used to seeing Alyssa do that the last four years,” Allmon said. “She wasn’t having her best night, but no one’s better at hitting them when it really counts.”
Mitchell said a breakdown allowed Cutshaw to get open.
“We had one defensive error, and against that team, one is all it takes,” he said.
With the score 46-all, Shipp and Ashia Holmes missed shots. Cutshaw got the board.
Cutshaw missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the ball ricocheted to Merritt, who stuck it in for the lead.
“I was just trying to drive and spin, and the ball came off to me,” Merritt said. “Anna had her girl blocked off, and that made it easy.”
Four more Hornet misses led to four free throws by Freeman, and it was all over.
“Our defense was good,” Shipp said. “But we’ve got to work on our shots. We’ve got to learn to make the shots at crunch-time.”
East davidson (52) ó Freeman 19, Merritt 12, Cutshaw 6, Hicks 6, Fox 6, Grimsley 3, Alexander.salisbury (46) ó Shipp 17, B. Phifer 12, Wylie 8, N. Phifer 4, Ay. Holmes 3, As. Holmes 2, Clinding, Miller, Heilig.
E. Davidson 7 10 19 16 ó 52
Salisbury 3 18 12 13 ó 46