Salisbury girls 79, North Rowan 27
By Mike London
Salisbury’s Ayanna Holmes looked up at a friendly scoreboard that read “Home 22, Visitors 0” and nodded her head with satisfaction.
“It felt like we were doing our job ó one assignment at a time,” said Holmes, who led the Hornets with 18 points.
Salisbury’s girls rolled against rival North Rowan 79-27 on Monday, even with coach Andrew Mitchell getting everyone in the game by the middle of the second quarter. Eleven Hornets were in the scorebook by halftime.
Holmes had a phenomenal night, shooting 8-for-9 from the field with two 3s.
“Warming up, I wasn’t hitting,” she said. “I just decided to take my time and see what happened.”
What happened was she hit almost everything after the tip-off, and the Hornets (7-0) now have won five games against county opponents, all by 39 or more points.
The Hornets had beaten North (2-2) by 53 points in Spencer, but they still took the rematch seriously.
“North had gotten on a nice winning streak in their conference, and we knew if we didn’t come out focused it would be a tough game,” Mitchell said.
It wasn’t tough. The Cavaliers turned it over 12 times in the first quarter.
On the other end, the Hornets were getting layups, mostly off steals, and scored twice on fastbreaks created by Jessica Heilig blocks.
North missed senior Symphony Roberts, a returning all-county player who injured a knee Friday.
Not that Roberts was going to score 50, but her presence, poise and automatic foul-shooting would’ve helped.
“The thing about Salisbury is they always let you know exactly where you are as a basketball team,” said North coach Tony Hillian, who is Mitchell’s cousin. “They’re the state champs and Andrew has a great team, but we can’t just lay down for them like that. We can play a lot better. We didn’t step to the ball, didn’t do the little things as well as we have been.”
North didn’t score until Tiffany Brown hit a layup to make it 22-2 with 5:22 left in the second quarter.
The Hornets led 37-8 at halftime and 62-13 after three quarters. SHS guard Bubbles Phifer collected five of her eight steals in the third quarter.
North guard Jasmine Turner had nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Salisbury reserves kept scoring at a steady pace, so the lead swelled a little more.
Doreen Richardson, Lacresha Young, Isis Miller, Najwa Allison, Eboni Feamster and Tori Woods combined for 34 points off the bench, including a career-best seven by Young, a member of last season’s 2A state champions.”The second group understands that it’s not acceptable for them to go in there and just start turning the ball over,” Mitchell said. “They can play, and they executed, tried to do everything we asked. It was good for them to play well, and it’s important for them to play well.”
Holmes definitely noticed.
“They’re starting to look more confident,” she said. “They’re knowing better what to do, and that makes you confident. They’re not second-guessing themselves.”
NOTES: Hillian praised the effort of Turner, Taylor Sells and Sabrina Vann. … Hillian is optimistic Roberts will be out of the lineup only a week. … Teaunna Cuthbertson had eight rebounds for the Cavaliers.
NORTH ROWAN (27) ó J. Turner 11, Sells 4, Brown 4, Davis 4, Vann 2, Cuthbertson 2, Bagley, Bush, Berry, E. Tucker.
SALISBURY (79) ó Ay. Holmes 18, Rankin 9, Phifer 9, Richardson 8, Young 7, Miller 7, Allison 6, Heilig 5, As. Holmes 4, Feimster 4, Woods 2, Lebowitz.
N. Rowan 0 8 5 14 ó 27
Salisbury 19 18 25 17 ó 79