Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 74, North Rowan 46

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2011

By Mike London
SALISBURY — Salisbury’s girls haven beaten North Rowan 15 straight times and 27 out of 28, but Saturday’s 74-46 victory by the Hornets was tougher than it sounds.
Even with SHS soph Brielle Blaire scoring 29 points and yanking down 23 rebounds at Goodman Gym.
North (2-2) led after a quarter and only trailed by eight points midway through the third before the Hornets’ rebounding power finally blew the game open.
“North’s program has improved tremendously,” said Salisbury coach Chris McNeil, after the Hornets notched their 37th straight win against county foes.
North was awfully feisty, especially guards Tiffany Brown and Tinka Bush, who scored a career-high 12 points. Those two little guards left a lot of sweat on the floor of Goodman Gym.
“We did play well for a half and part of the third quarter,” said Tony Hillian, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the Cavaliers. “We were playing good defense and running our offense, but then we stopped attacking the basket and started settling for jumpers, and that’s not our strength.”
Salisbury (5-1) has won eight straight Christmas tournaments and hasn’t lost at Catawba in a long time, but North rode seven early points by senior Teaunna Cuthbertson to a 12-11 lead after a quarter.
“When you’ve got a team as young as we are, the girls tend to forget the gameplan sometimes, and that’s what we did tonight,” McNeil said. “Then North started knocking down tough shots and it shocked us a little bit.”
Salisbury had an ugly first quarter — 5-for-15 shooting and nine turnovers — but it dominated the boards and put up 26 points in the second quarter for a 37-27 halftime lead. Blaire had eight points and eight boards in the quarter.
“We let Brielle get rolling, and once she gets rolling she’s hard to stop,” Hillian said.
North was still hanging around halfway through the third on the long Catawba floor, but a steal and a bucket by Salisbury’s Vashti Usry and a 3-pointer by Blaire finally gave the Hornets some breathing room.
“What was going wrong in the first half wasn’t anything special North was doing, it was just us,” Blaire said. “But once we started listening to the coaches, we started executing better.”
SALISBURY (74) — B. Blaire 29, Usry 12, Richardson 9, Connor 9, Caldwell 5, Lattimore 5, Harmon 4, Harris 1, A. Blaire.
NORTH ROWAN (46) — Bush 12, Cuthbertson 10, Brown 7, Robinson 6, Vann 4, Dickerson 3, Sells 3, Bradley 1, Lingle, Rincon, Carter.
Salisbury 11 26 18 19 — 74
N. Rowan 12 15 12 7 — 46