• 59°

Salisbury girls 80, East Rowan 31

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
The opening tip went like this:
Jessica Heilig easily controls to Ayanna Holmes, who whips a pass to twin sister Ashia for a layup.
It took all of three seconds for the Hornets to go up 2-0.
Game over.
Well, it might as well have been.
Always remember, as soon as it scores, Salisbury plays defense. And that’s scarier than how productive the defending state 2A champ’s offense is.
The Hornets beat East Rowan 80-31 in the season opener for both teams last night in the Salisbury gym. It was never close with Salisbury leading by 10 after one, 29 at halftime and 47 after three.
Even in the fourth quarter, when coach Andrew Mitchell played nothing but his bench, the Hornets outscored the Mustangs 16-14.
Scary.
“They’re awesome ó again,” said a thoroughly impressed East coach Karen Garmon. “They’re just as strong as last year. They’ll be state champions.”
Eleven of the 12 Hornets scored with only Hannah Lebowitz left out of the point total. But Lebowitz is like all the Hornets ó unselfish. She had one open look in particular but instead fired a pass inside to Najwa Allison for a layup.
“She had three assists,” Mitchell beamed. “I love the team spirit and togetherness.”
The third quarter was a perfect example. The first five baskets were scored off assists by four different Hornets: two by Ayanna Holmes, as well as Bubbles Phifer, Olivia Rankin and Heilig.
It turned a 40-11 lead at intermission into a 51-12 advantage.
“We said at halftime it would be easy to go back out and start clowning and make it rec ball,” Mitchell said. “We said look for a teammate and make a teammate better.”
Garmon was hurt by the strained quad muscle of Ashley Goins, her starting point guard. Turnovers had East trailing 10-0 very quickly.
Alaina Vanderford was a warrior, scoring all six of the Mustangs’ points in the opening quarter. She had to be the ballhandler against that rugged press and didn’t shoot very often.
“Alaina did a good job leading us,” Garmon said. “She’s tough as nails. They beat the snot out of her and she kept coming.”
Phifer, last year’s state championship MVP, got hot in the second quarter, scoring 10 of her 14 points, two buckets on rainbow threes. Ayanna Holmes had six steals, five assists and 11 points. Rankin, who transferred from East, had 10 points.
Three other Hornets, Heilig, Ashia Holmes and Doreen Richardson, each had eight.
Garmon may have discovered a sidekick for Vanderford in Tempest Means. She was the only Mustang with speed enough to stay up with the Hornets and scored seven. Taylor Honeycutt chipped in with six.
“Tempest was our firestarter tonight,” Garmon said. “She wasn’t afraid to go to the basket and she hit her free throws. She showed what kind of player she can be.”
But it didn’t matter. The Hornets looked in midseason form.
“That’s a typical Salisbury team,” Garmon sighed.
When told that Garmon is already predicting another state title for his team, Mitchell just smiled.
“I hope she’s a prophet,” he said.
EAST ROWAN (31) ó Vanderford 8, Means 7, Honeycutt 6, B. Boling 4, Sabo 2, Corpening 2, Dunlap 2, Holshouser, Drew, Fine, A. Boling, Eagle. Salisbury (80) ó Phifer 14, Ay. Holmes 11, Rankin 10, Ash. Holmes 8, Heilig 8, Richardson 8, Miller 6, Feamster 5, Allison 4, Woods 4, Young 2, Lebowitz.
E. Rowan 6 5 6 14 ó 31
Salisbury 16 24 24 16 ó 80

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges