Prep Basketball: Lexington 54, Salisbury boys 40

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 13, 2012

By Mike London
SALISBURY — There are dagger 3-pointers, but there are also dagger dunks.
When Lexington’s 6-foot-5 C.J. Woodberry perfectly timed his rebound of a teammate’s miss and slammed it home with serious authority, everyone in Salisbury’s gym — including the Hornets — knew Friday’s CCC struggle was over.
There were still three minutes to play, but fans on both sides streamed for the exits. Those fans weren’t wrong. Salisbury went down meekly, scoring just one point after Woodberry’s jam and accepting an ugly 54-40 loss.
What went wrong for the Hornets? Well, basically, everything. It’s not like the visiting Yellow Jackets (5-6, 2-0) lit it up, but they still won pretty easily.
“We came out really active on defense and we forced a lot of turnovers early,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “We should have been able to get out to a nice lead, but we just didn’t execute on offense. Being hyped and excited is great, but that can only carry you so far. At some point, you have to execute, and we didn’t.”
Lexington was so awful early that it may have lulled the Hornets into a false sense of security. The Jackets turned the ball over six times in the first two minutes, challenging every world record in that dubious category.
Errant Lexington passes hit walls, ceilings, parked cars, fans and cheerleaders, and the Hornets jumped out 8-2 on a 3-pointer by Tion McCain and five free throws.
“We get off to good starts,” McCain said, shaking his head. “But we haven’t put games together.”
Give Lexington credit. It finished that almost comical first quarter with 11 turnovers, but then it started showing signs of being a competent team, and the cold-shooting Hornets’ lead disappeared. After McCain’s early bomb, SHS missed 11 straight field-goal attempts.
“Oh, it was ugly,” admitted Lexington coach Robert Hairston, who was a key assistant at West Rowan during the Falcons’ glory days. “There were so many turnovers. It was just bad, bad, bad basketball for a while. Sometimes kids don’t show the necessary discipline to play this game, but we did manage to keep some focus even with that rough start.”
Lexington put together a 17-point second quarter for a 26-21 halftime lead, and while that deficit wasn’t overly alarming, some of the Hornets’ halftime stats were downright depressing.
Tony Nunn, who is 6-foot-8, had one field goal attempt in the first half — a miss. Tyler Petty, his 6-7, shot-blocking running mate, owned four points on 2-for-6 shooting, so it was obvious, the Hornets weren’t capitalizing on a pronounced height advantage.
“They were fronting Tony, making it really hard for us to get the ball to him,” McCain explained. “And the rest of us were just missing.”
Causby’s halftime chat obviously reminded his guys that Nunn was a teammate and a potential asset if he touched the ball now and then.
The Hornets looked for Nunn in the third quarter — with mixed reviews. He converted a layup and threw down a dunk. But there also was a misfire on a lob attempt, several turnovers on entry passes and a missed 2-footer.
“Every opponent tries to keep Tony from getting the ball, so he has to work hard to get it,” Causby said. “But when he does get it, we need for him to finish. We’re just not there yet on some things, but we’re working on it.”
Lexington shot 50 percent in the third quarter while the Hornets were going 3-for-10 and turning it over seven times, and suddenly the Jackets led by a comfortable 15.
Da’Quan Robertson gave the Hornets a late spark with his hustle, and he hit three shots to lift the Hornets within 46-38 with four minutes left.
But B.J. Woods missed a 3-point try that would’ve cut the deficit to five.
Then a flying scoop by Lock McLean and Woodberry’s electric jam terminated the rally. Woodberry, Lexington’s only returning starter, was a leader. He had eight points in the fourth quarter.
“We’ll stay positive, and we’ll get it going,” McCain vowed.
LEXINGTON (54) — McLean 15, Woodberry 12, Byrd 7, Horton 6, Brady 4, Lewis 4, Covington 2, Holloway, Huntley, Hoover, Baldwin,
SALISBURY (40) — Duncan 7, B. Hillie 7, McCain 6, Robertson 6, Nunn 5, T. Petty 4, J. Petty 2, Woods 2, Adams 1, Tracey, Finger,
Lexington 9 17 14 14 — 54
Salisbury 9 12 6 13 — 40