Prep Basketball: Hopewell girls 62, Salisbury 56

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Salisbury has done just about everything right the past few seasons.
Expect for season openers.
Seven months removed from their third-straight state championship, the new-look Hornets fell to 4A Hopewell 62-56 at home. It broke a string of 27 consecutive wins dating back to last year.
Last season it was a 60-50 loss to Butler that got the Hornets off on the wrong foot before winning out.
Salisbury graduated four division players from last year’s squad.
Tuesday, The Hornets fell behind 19-12 at the end of the first quarter and cut it to 55-53 with under two minutes to play before bowing out to the Titans.
“Believe it or not, I’m very satisfed,” Salisbury coach Chris McNeil said. “It’s a new group of young ladies. We found out a lot about ourselves tonight. I’m proud they didn’t lay down in the midst of adversity.”
Bryanna Curry had a game-best 20 points and Sharee’ Boyd added 16 as Hopewell won its second game in as many nights.
Salisbury struggled at the foul line, going 10 for 24 and keeping a winnable game out of reach.
In her debut as a sophomore, Brielle Blaire scored a team-best 17 points despite fouling out with 4:52 to play. Blaire is the lone returing starter for Salisbury.
“I’ve watched her play since the seventh grade,” Hopewell coach Gary Richmond said. “I know how aggressive she is. We wanted to use her aggression against her.”
Hopewell went up 33-19 on a basket from Alicia Francis with 3:08 left in the first half. The Hornets went on a 7-0 run to end the half, capped by Blaire’s 3-pointer, to pull within 33-26. Boyd had a 3-point play and Curry hit a jumper to put the Titans up 40-29. Another run of seven straight by the Hornets pulled them back in it.
Blaire was called for her fifth foul on a block of Boyd and Salisbury trailing 53-47.
“That was a major part of the game,” McNeil said. “But at the same time, we were hoping somebody would step up.”
Salisbury pulled to within 55-51 on a layup from Doreen Richardson. Ashley Blaire got a steal on the following possession and dished it to Richardson who got Salisbury to within two with 1:47 left. The Hornets never got closer as Hopewell hit 6 of 7 free throws down the stretch.

NOTE: Salisbury hosts Rocky River tonight.
HOPEWELL (62) — Curry 20, Boyd 16, B. Washington 11, Lynch 6, Burks 4, M. Washington 3, Francis 2, Pittman, Dillon, Thompson.
SALISBURY (56) — B. Blaire 17, Richardson 14, Caldwell 7, Usry 5, A. Blaire 4, Harris 3, Connor 2, Harmon 2, Lattimore 2.
Hopewell 19 14 13 16 — 62
Salisbury 12 14 12 18 — 56