Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 59, West Rowan 44

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2011

By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA — With his team trailing by 13 points with 50 seconds to go, animated West Rowan girls coach Todd McNeely yelled for a timeout.
The message was clear — the Falcons were playing Thursday’s game right down to the final second.
West fell to Salisbury 59-44, but the game had little in common with the 40-point beatdown the Hornets had laid on the Falcons just eight days earlier.
“I challenged our girls that they were not going to quit this time — and they didn’t,” McNeely said. “They beat us with their offensive rebounds, but heart-wise we’re getting there.”
Brielle Blaire, a sophomore who notched her 500th career point earlier this week, was stellar with 17 points and 16 rebounds. She led the Hornets to their 40th straight win against county foes. Senior Doreen Richardson scored all 10 of her points after halftime.
Shay Steele had 16 points and a bushel of blocks to spark the Falcons. Nycieko Dixon (eight points), Brittany Barber (seven) and Alison Sobataka (two 3-pointers) helped out.
West outplayed the Hornets in the first quarter, but Vashti Ushry’s speed and defensive energy helped push the Hornets ahead 21-14 at halftime.
“We could tell West was very hungry, so we had to pick our intensity up,” Usry said. “At halftime, we talked about playing as a team better, and we worked on our listening skills.”
The Hornets finally pulled away with a 9-0 run at the end of the third quarter that stretched a five-point edge to 14. Richardson scored twice in that span after soaring for offensive boards.
“Every team is improving and we get everyone’s best shot,” Salisbury coach Chris McNeil said. “But we limited our turnovers and our rebounding and intensity were very good. Nyasia (Harris) and Vashti impressed me tonight.”
Salisbury (8-2) was coming off a rare loss to Newton-Conover, but it bounced back with a solid road win against a fired-up opponent.
“We got stuck in a halfcourt game Wednesday and made 20 turnovers, but we got back to our transition game tonight,” McNeil said.
SALISBURY (59) — B. Blaire 17, Richardson 10, Usry 7, A. Blaire 6, Harris 6, Caldwell 5, Connor 4, Lattimore 2, Harmon 2, Angle.
WEST ROWAN (44) — Steele 16, Dixon 8, Barber 7, Sobataka 6, Dutton 5, Miller 2, Harrington, Hunter.
Salisbury 4 17 17 21 — 59
W. Rowan 8 6 10 20 — 44