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Prep Basketball Playoffs: Salisbury girls 93, East Lincoln 30

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
With five minutes left in Salisbury’s game with East Lincoln on Tuesday night, Hornets’ coach Andrew Mitchell put in the girls at the very end of the bench. At the time, they were up by 50.
You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the East Lincoln faithful. With the jayvee call-ups in, Salisbury would surely let up a little.
Good luck.
Salisbury proved why it’s the No. 3 team in the state, outscoring East Lincoln 18-4 with those subs to finish off a dominating 93-30 victory in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.
It left Mustangs interim coach Tory Lowery shaking his head in amazement.
“We haven’t seen anything like that,” he exclaimed after his team finished 17-10. “You can practice but that speed and quickness is just unbelievable. One through 12, they’re way faster.”
During those final five minutes, starters De’Rya Wylie (23 points), Shi-Heria Shipp (16) and Bubbles Phifer (16) cheered on jayvees Doreen Richardson, Najwa Allison and Ayana Hicks. Over on the side, jayvee girls coach J.T. Bost wore a very satisfied look.
“We don’t like running up the score,” said varsity coach Andrew Mitchell after watching the Hornets improve to 24-3. “But regardless of who we put in the game, they play hard and run the floor.”
“That’s the future right there,” said Wylie, who tied her season-high. “There’s going to be a bright future after we leave.”
Every Hornet will tell you the future is now. Coming off a 45-43 loss to nemesis East Davidson in the Central Carolina Conference tournament final, they have a new focus ó make the state championship game.
“We could tell from the time the players came in until the time we hit the floor they were very focused,” Mitchell said. “They know what’s at stake.”
Forgive East Lincoln for not being focused. The Mustangs were shaken after a brawl last week in the semifinals of the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference tournament.
Trouble began when, according to a story in the Lincoln Times News, family members of coach Deidre LeGrand got into a heated confrontation with the fans, forcing police to use physical force to break it up. Legrand was not present Tuesday.
“We’ve been through a lot this week,” Lowery admitted. “They’ve had a lot on their minds.”
The Mustangs were also hurt by the ankle sprain of 6-foot-3 junior center Lindsy Wright, who averaged 22 points. Wright, who has already verbally committed to Wake Forest, played sparingly, scoring just four points.
The 5-7 Wylie said she was motivated by Wright’s reputation.
“You always hear, ‘Wylie’s undersized,'” Wylie laughed. “It doesn’t bother me.”
Obviously. Wylie had 13 points, three steals and four rebounds in the first eight minutes that ended with Salisbury up 25-4.
“She heard (Wright) had verbally committed and she was up to the challenge,” Mitchell said of Wylie. “That’s a lot of why she was as intense as she was.”
It was 33-10 in the second quarter when the Kia Rice-led Hornets scored the last 15 points of the half for a 48-10 lead at intermission.
Mitchell tried to back off but steal after steal produced layup after layup. Of Salisbury’s 37 baskets, 34 were underneath.
That left the jayvees to finish off this impressive showing. For the record, Richardson scored nine quick points.
The next challenge comes Thursday when the Hornets make the long trip to West Jefferson to meet 26-1 Ashe County, which beat West Davidson almost as bad, 67-27.
Lowery was asked if he had any advice for Ashe County.
“Get your track shoes on,” he said.

NOTES: After going 4-for-12 at the free-throw line against East Davidson, Salisbury was 19-for-23 on Tuesday. “Threatening to get up at 5, 5:30 in the morning to shoot free throws has positive results,” Mitchell grinned. … Twelve Hornets scored. .. Jasmine Clinding had a good game, scoring seven points and grabbing eight rebounds.
east lincoln (00) ó Mordas 8, Courtney 8, Messemer 6, Wright 4, Forney 2, Davis 2, Long, Bailey.
salisbury (00) ó Wylie 23, B. Phifer 16, Shipp 16, Richardson 9, Clinding 7, Rice 6, Heilig 4, Ay. Holmes 4, N. Phifer 2, Allison 2, Miller 2, Hicks 2.
E. Lincoln 4 6 12 8 ó 30
Salisbury 25 23 23 22 ó 93

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