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Prep Basketball: Salisbury boys 56, North Rowan 45

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó Salisbury’s schedule didn’t offer up a cupcake, but players and coaches devoured some after a sweet win against rival North Rowan.
Jahaan Hailey drilled five 3-pointers and scored 17 points ó all in the first half ó to help lead first-place Salisbury to a 56-45 victory against the Cavaliers.The Hornets had lost three consecutive games at North.
“I’ll take them any way I can get them in Spencer,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “Three years ago it knocked us out of the playoffs, and last year it cost us the regular season (title).
“This was a big win for a lot of reasons. We want to keep winning for our psyche, and the fact it’s North, we don’t ever want to lose to them at anything, whether we’re playing pingpong or playing football, basketball, baseball.”
D.J. Hipps, who scored 11 of North’s first 12 points and finished with a team-high 16, swished a 30-footer as the first quarter ended to pull the Cavs within 12-6. He continued his individual streak and made two free throws to tie the game with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter.
Salisbury (15-1, 6-0 CCC) responded with a 19-3 run and took a 32-17 lead into the break.The Cavs (5-10, 2-4) faced a fourth-quarter deficit of 14 points until Lamonte Bell made two free throws. Back-to-back steals from Tristan Gill set up transition baskets for Bell, who drew North within 48-40 midway through the period.
Brandon Abel and Dominique Phillips, who scored 15 points to set a career high for the second consecutive game, had three-point plays on the Hornets’ next two possessions.
“We’ve had trouble in the first half getting going the last couple games,” North coach Kelly Everhart said. “We’ve just dug ourself a great big hole, and once again we did it tonight. I thought we played a little better in the second half and didn’t have the turnovers we had in the first half.
“We had 15 turnovers in the first half, and you can’t give a team like Salisbury 15 extra possessions and hope to be in the ballgame.”
Abel, Darien Rankin and Thaddeus Williams combined for only eight points, but Hailey and Phillips picked up the slack.
Causby said Rankin has been bothered recently by back spasms, and Hailey started in his place.
He took advantage of open looks against North’s zone.
“Why wait and bring him off the bench?” Causby asked. “We can make a statement and get off to an early start.”
Hailey, whose father passed away unexpectedly late last week, made three 3s during a 79-second span midway through the first quarter.
“I think he took a lot of pride in playing tonight for that reason,” Causby said.
Hailey’s early hat trick produced a 9-3 lead, and his fourth 3-pointer capped a 9-0 run that allowed Salisbury to break free from the 12-all tie. He hit another long-range jumper later in the Hornets’ second-quarter push.
Hailey went 5-for-10 on 3s.
“When they were in a zone, I was like, ‘I’ve got to shoot it,’ ” Hailey said. “I had time to look at my shot, and I kept hitting. It felt good.”
North defended Hailey with a box-and-one in the third quarter, and he attempted only one shot after halftime.
During a possession Stephen Curry could appreciate, Hailey stood in the left corner near midcourt so Salisbury could run its offense in a four-on-four situation.
“You take your chances with Salisbury,” Everhart said. “Do you want to go out and challenge their quickness and let them penetrate and get to the rim or do you try to protect the inside and force them outside and hope they’re having an off-night shooting?
“Obviously the gamble we chose tonight didn’t pay off.”
SALISBURY (56) ó Hailey 17, Phillips 15, Abel 6, Weant 6, Knox 5, Morris 3, Rankin 2, Almeida 2, Williams, Lingard, Wilkins.
NORTH ROWAN (45) ó Hipps 16, Bell 9, Gill 5, Fortson 5, Hargrave 5, Feezor 3, Blakeney 2, Overstreet, Rudisell, Sims, Smyre.
Salisbury 12 20 12 12 ó 56
North Rowan 6 11 12 16 ó 45

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