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Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 61, West Rowan 22

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com Another quick start helped the Salisbury girls basketball team gain another lopsided victory Tuesday night.
This time the unbeaten Hornets raced to a 16-0 lead in the opening five minutes and rolled to a 61-22 win against visiting West Rowan.
“This team is learning to come ready to play and focused regardless of the opposition,” coach Andrew Mitchell said after Salisbury (4-0) spoiled West’s season-opener. “At the start of the North Rowan game (Nov. 24) we played around a whole lot before the game and it showed early. Tonight the starters came out with good intensity and very focused and made some good decisions.”
Perhaps no one was better prepared than junior forward Jessica Heilig. She used an authoritative first step to drive for a pair of first-quarter layups as the Hornets mounted an 18-3 advantage.
“We had our intensity way up ó like we always do,” she said after finishing with 10 points. “That was just a lot of determination.”
West coach Erich Epps was certainly convinced. “Jessica Heilig is a big-time player,” he said. “She needs to start getting the credit that all those other girls get.”
Mitchell said Heilig is simply a product of her developed talent and hard work. “She’s in the gym every day, no matter what,” he said after Heilig grabbed six rebounds in limited action. “When we took her out tonight her comment was, ‘Why am I not playing well?’ I explained to her that she was, not only scoring but rebounding and playing defense.”
West’s best offensive punch was thrown by senior guard Ayana Avery, who knocked down a couple of 3-pointers and scored all eight of her points in the first half.
“You couldn’t take her for granted,” said Bubbles Phifer, who drew the defensive assignment. “That was our main goal, to shut her down.”
Phifer scored 13 of her game-best 14 points in the third period when Salisbury cracked the game open. She hit a 3-ball from the left corner early in the quarter, another 3 with 4:10 on the clock, and finally she twisted in for a layup from the right side that made it 53-13 as the period expired.
“I’m very disappointed in our team,” said Epps. “It was our first game and we’re on the road in a tough building. I think we read the front of the jerseys and saw ‘Salisbury’ and got intimidated. We didn’t look like the team I’ve been coaching in practice for a month.”

NOTES: Salisbury’s Olivia Rankin contributed 12 points and five rebounds. Phifer had seven steals and Ayanna Holmes five assists. … The Hornets host Northwest Cabarrus tonight. West is idle until mid-December. Its game with North Rowan was postponed until Jan. 23.
west rowan (22) ó Avery 8, Cross 7, Holloway 3, Leach 2, Watkins 2, As. Dutton, Steele, Ball, Parker, Baucom, Barber, Al.Dutton, Turner, Bolick.
salisbury (61) ó Phifer 14, Rankin 12, Heilig 10, Richardson 10, As. Holmes 7, Feamster 2, Woods 2, Young 2, Miller 1, Lebowitz 1, Ay. Holmes, Allison.
W. Rowan 3 7 3 9 ó 22
Salisbury 18 9 26 8 ó 61

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