Salisbury girls 89, North Rowan 24

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By Ronnie Gallagher
Instant replay has not made high school basketball yet — unless you were in the Salisbury gym Monday night.
Only four days ago, in the Moir Christmas Classic, North Rowan’s girls trailed Salisbury 40-3 at halftime before losing by 39.
Last night, the 1A Cavaliers played better against their 2A neighbors.
And lost by 65.
Whaddaya gonna do?
Salisbury was a juggernaut four days ago so why would anything change for the Hornets (8-1)?
“You just tell the girls to give it all you’ve got,” North coach Tony Hillian said. “That’s all you can do.”
Ashia Holmes recorded the quietest 18 points in history. Twin Ayanna had 15. Jennifer Heilig scored 12. Freshman Brielle Blaire was powerful with 15 points, 15 rebounds and several assists, dazzling the crowd and Hillian with her athleticism.
“She plays with intensity,” Hillian said. “She can drive. She can hit the outside shot. She can hit the mid-range shot. She boxes out. She blocks a lot of shots.”
But before Blaire even hit the court, Salisbury was well in control. In fact, this one was practically over before the Cavs could blink.
The ref threw the ball up. Heilig tipped it to Ashia Holmes, who whipped a pass to Doreen Richardson. Two seconds in, it was 2-0.
Fifty-seven seconds later, Hillian called his first time out. By then, the Cavaliers had made four turnovers and had not gotten a shot at the basket.
When they did, it was blocked. The second shot was blocked. It was obvious Chris McNeil’s squad was having no letup.
“The young ladies haven’t played since the Christmas tournament and they were eager to play,” McNeil said. “There is only so much you can do in practice to prepare. They were ready to play.
“And it is North Rowan.”
Ashia Holmes had 14 by halftime, mainly on breakaway layups off steals. Salisbury led 46-9.
It was 70-18 after three and Blaire continued her dominance throughout the second half.
What’s scary is the fact the 6-foot-3 Blaire is 14 years old. Even scarier is that she’s a reserve.
“One thing I can appreciate is that she’s mature,” McNeil said. “She likes to see how the referees are calling the game and she makes adjustments.”
A bright spot for North (4-7) was JoJo Carby, who led the way with 12 points. She’s quick enough to keep up with Salisbury.
“Carby’s getting better,” Hillian said. “In the second half, she was driving to the basket.”

NOTES: North didn’t have the services of Teaunna Cuthbertson, who has been bothered by a sore knee. She banged it in the Christmas tournament and with two YVC games upcoming — tonight at East Montgomery and Friday at Chatham Central — Hillian wanted her to rest it last night … Salisbury plays host to West Rowan on Wednesday. … After the game, North Rowan boys coach Andrew Mitchell joined McNeil at halfcourt to celebrate last year’s state championship. Mitchell coached the Hornets in 2010.
NORTH ROWAN (24) — Carby 12, Brown 6, Dickerson 4, Sells 2, Bush, Bradley, Fortson, Vann.
SALISBURY (89) — As. Holmes 18, Ay. Holmes 15, Blaire 15, Heilig 12, Rankin 9, Richardson 8, Allison 6, Feamster 4, Hicks 2.
N. Rowan 6 3 9 6 — 24
Salisbury 30 16 24 19 — 89