Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 59, Concord 50
By David Shaw
CONCORD ó The Hornets of old would have put this one away early.
But as second-year coach Chris McNeil pointed out Friday night, ěThese arenít the Hornets of old.î
The born-again Salisbury girls basketball team may be young and a bit on the raw side. But it had enough strength and athleticism to brush aside host Concord, 59-50.
ěWeíre coming around,î said guard Doreen Richardson, Salisburyís only senior. ěIt feels like weíre a little more together on the court. We may have to try a little harder, but weíll get there.î
No one knows where this season will lead the Hornets, only where it has taken them so far. And this victory, sparked by sophomore Brielle Blaireís career-high 26 points, was their fourth in five games.
ěIt wasnít perfect,î McNeill said after SHS extended its winning streak to four. ěBut I think the ladies learned something about themselves tonight. They learned how to handle adversity and crowd noise.î
Both were valuable lessons. Salisbury battled ongoing foul trouble and a hostile atmosphere, yet prevailed with room to spare. Blaire fouled out with 1:13 to play and teammate Daterria Connor finished with four personals.
ěMostly, I had to listen to the coach,î Blaire said afterward. ěI had to settle down and let the game come to me.î
Blaire hit a short set-shot from the right side, a pull-up jumper and a power-drive layup in the opening three minutes, helping the Hornets mount an 8-0 lead. It ballooned to 19-10 when she canned a 3-pointer from the left side in the last minute of the first quarter.
By then sheíd already been whistled for two fouls, then picked up her third midway through the second period. Concord (1-3) capitalized and pulled within 21-20 when senior Alleson Briggs gained the left baseline and sank a layup with 2:19 on the clock.
Thatís when McNeil ordered Blaire back into action. Salisbury closed the half on an 11-2 run, with Blaire contributing a short jumper from inside the lane, a 3-ball from the top of the key and soft-touch putback as the half ended.
ěWe werenít going to get away from our game-plan,î McNeil said. ěI know there were people who questioned me putting Brielle back in with three (fouls), but at that moment I wanted her leadership on the floor.î
Salisbury padded its lead to 46-34 when Nyasia Harris made a soft layup as the third quarter expired. ěIt wasnít our best,î Richardson concluded. ěWeíll come out a lot stronger next time.î
SALISBURY (59) ó B. Blaire 26, Caldwell 8, A.Blaire 7, Richardson 4, Usry 4, Harris 4, Harmon 4, Lattimore 2, Connor.
CONCORD (50) ó Briggs 15, E.Black 13, N.Black 9, Floyd 5, Townsead 3, Foard 3, Boyce 2.
Salisbury 19 13 14 13 ó 59
Concord 12 10 12 16 ó 50