Salisbury girls off to strong start
By Mike London
Girls basketball notebook …
Salisbury’s girls may have already cleared their two biggest hurdles of the regular season.
The Hornets drilled 4A power Mount Tabor without post player Olivia Rankin, then got past 3A Concord in overtime on the road Friday.
As far as the CCC, newcomer Thomasville is always good in girls basketball and East Davidson (5-1) returns three of its top six from the team that handed the Hornets all three of their losses last season, but Salisbury will be the clear favorite in the league.
Salisbury (9-0) will take aim at its seventh straight Sam Moir Christmas title in two weeks.
That’s hard to believe. Winning back-to-back Moirs used to be a big deal.
The only serious challenger to the Hornets appears to be Davie (5-0). It has easily handled East Rowan and Carson.
COUNTY QUEENS: Salisbury is 6-0 against Rowan competition this season, running its county streak to 31 straight since North beat the Hornets in 2006. None of this season’s games against four different county foes have been competitive ó 80-31, 69-16, 61-22, 79-30, 79-27 and 80-16.The end of the streak is not in sight. Coach Andrew Mitchell has only one senior (Bubbles Phifer) in a powerhouse starting lineup, and the jayvees are still undefeated.
Overall, the Hornets have won 15 in a row since they lost to East Davidson in last season’s CCC tournament. They’re a lock to win at least 25 games for the seventh straight season.
BUBBLES: Phifer has to be one of the top defensive guards in the state, and she has also put the ball in the hole with regularity.
She scored her 1,000th career point in last season’s 2A championship game and now has 1,122 for her career.
She’s surpassed Carmen Weldon and Ashley Watkins on the Hornets’ career list this season and currently ranks seventh all-time at the school. Saybah Sammy (1,126) is sixth.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Twins Ayanna and Ashia Holmes both surpassed 400 points last week. They’re juniors, so both could get to 1,000 points before they wrap their careers.
Maybe they’ll reach 1,000 on the same night. That would be a story.
Ayanna (407 points) has been in double figures in the Hornets’ last five games. Ashia (403) has scored as many as 17 this season.
AMERICAN IDLE: West has only played twice because of postponements related to the boys team, so junior Ayanna Avery’s drive toward 1,000 points has been almost on hold.
Avery did toss in 27 against Northwest Cabarrus ó a school she always torments ó last week. Avery scored 29 and 33 against the Trojans as a sophomore.
She has 899 career points, a total that ranks 11th in school history. Passing Wanda Foster (938) would put her in West’s all-time top 10.
BALANCED SCORING: South is 3-5 and probably should be 4-4, but it let one get away against Northwest.
Five different girls ó Asia Caple, Nicole Barringer, Libby Sides, Kayla Morrow and Lauren Miller ó have scored in double figures at least twice, so there’s offensive potential if the Raiders can limit turnovers.
The progress of young guards Miller and Caple is probably going to determine how successful the Raiders can be.
They have a good chance to win their NPC opener tonight against a West Iredell team that was flattened by East Rowan on Friday.
ALMOST: South’s 80-16 loss at Salisbury didn’t break the school record for fewest points, but it was close.
South lost 28-15 to A.L. Brown in the 1965-66 season.
Salisbury’s 80 points weren’t the most South’s allowed, either. The Raiders fell 88-43 to West Rowan in the 2003-04 season.
INJURY: North senior Symphony Roberts, who has scored 327 points in her career, has missed the past two games with a knee injury.
Her absence was keenly felt in a close loss to Gray Stone on Friday.
GREAT ATHLETE: Even Salisbury’s girls aren’t quite as bouncy as North sophomore Teaunna Cuthbertson.
Track is her primary sport, but she’s scored 14, 15 and a career-best 19 points already this season.
SLOW START: While East’s 0-6 start was its worst in four decades, the 72-23 rout of West Iredell on Friday did a lot for the Mustangs’ confidence level.
Most teams were going to be 0-6 playing the schedule East played early, but the Mustangs shoot the ball pretty well. If free throws start dropping, they can win their share in the NPC.
A couple of players had breakout games against West Iredell. Tempest Means, who scored 17 all last season, had 14 on Friday. Mallory Drew, who scored 20 last season, had 13.
Experienced guards Mackenzie Holshouser and Alaina Vanderford, who have combined for 485 career points, shot with confidence Friday.
Coach Karen Garmon also expects to have Ashley Goins (quad strain) active soon. She is expected to take over as the Mustangs’ primary ballhandler.
COUGARS: Carson is searching for consistency, and coach Brooke Misenheimer still isn’t sure exactly what she’ll get from key players on a given night. It’s been feast or famine for many Cougars.
Breckin Settlemyer’s has scored 10 and 0. Ditto for Tyesha Phillips.
Kaylene Livengood has scored 16 and 12 but has also been shut out twice. Demya Heggins scored 11 and 14 in her last two outings after being shut out twice. Chloe Monroe has had two scoreless nights but also poured in 13 and 15.
Freshman Allison Blackwell is the only Cougar who’s scored in every game.
Obviously, if everyone plays well at the same time, this could be a very dangerous team.
PROGRESS: Carson lost 62-55 at Statesville on Friday. That was a step in the right direction. Carson lost 82-31 and 72-16 to the Greyhounds last season.
Statesville’s obviously not as good as it’s been without point guard Keyrra Gillespie, but it’s also obvious the Cougars are more competitive.
RECORDS: Carson broke two school records earlier this season in a 69-26 rout of West Davidson. It was the most points ever scored by the Cougars and the fewest allowed.
ALL THAT JAZZ: Senior Jazzmin Brown is now the top scorer in school history with 307 points.
Mack White, who was a senior the year Carson opened, scored 295 and held the mark prior to Brown.
White’s 33 in a game against East Rowan appears to be safe for now.