Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 59, Lexington 45
By Mike London
SALISBURY — On her back on the hardwood, Lexington’s D’Necia Ausborne stared hopefully up at the nearest official after Salisbury star Brielle Blaire crashed into her with 1:37 left in the first half.
When the whistle sounded, hearts beat faster on the Salisbury bench because it would’ve been Blaire’s fourth personal.
The call was a block on Ausborne, rather than a charge on Blaire. Had officials seen it the other way, Salisbury might’ve been in trouble on Friday.
Instead the Hornets managed to beat the visiting Yellow Jackets 59-45. Coach Chris McNeil squeezed 14 points and 12 rebounds from a foul-plagued Blaire, and senior Doreen Richardson delivered a career-best 19 points off drives and steals.
“There was a lot of beating up out there tonight,” Blaire said. “I was just proud of my team that we pulled out the win.”
Salisbury last lost to Lexington in 2003 when the Yellow Jackets had a terrific scorer in Erica Gilley.
Since then, the second-ranked Hornets have won 19 straight against the Jackets, including blistering routs by margins of 72, 66, 61, 55, 54 and 52 points. Friday’s game was the closest Lexington has come to the Hornets since a 13-point SHS win in 2005.
“Brielle and Doreen are the two players we knew we had to stop, and we came here with the idea of really making Brielle work for everything she got with a box-and-one defense,” Lexington coach Lamont Johnson said. “Our girls did a great job defensively, packing it back and making them take a lot of outside shots.”
Lexington got a super performance from junior Jasmine Carter. She had 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Salisbury (13-2, 2-0 CCC) dominated the first quarter and breezed to a 19-5 lead. But Blaire picked up her first two fouls in a span of six seconds, and she battled whistles the rest of the way.
Blaire’s third foul came with 6:23 still to play in the first half when Ausborne cleverly drew a charge.
“I really couldn’t go after the ball like I wanted to after that,” Blaire said. “Coach just told me I had to settle down and be careful and be smart.”
Lexington (5-7, 0-2) trailed just 27-18 late in the half, but Richardson banked in a 30-footer to beat the horn and change the momentum some.
When Ashley Blaire passed to Patreece Lattimore for a layup, Salisbury led 42-24 midway through the third quarter, but Carter sparked a 12-0 run by the Yellow Jackets that made it a six-point game with six minutes left.
“I still wasn’t concerned,” Blaire said. “I believe in my team.”
That belief was justified. The Hornets, who won their 28th straight CCC game, calmed down and the lead went back to double digits on a backbreaking three-point play by Nyasia Harris.
“Salisbury’s a lot faster than we are,” Johnson said. “And we turned it over a few too many times to win.”
LEXINGTON (45) — Carter 24, Fowler 9, Iglesias 3, Ausborne 3, White 2, Kelly 2, Jones 2, Vinson, Wall.
SALISBURY (59) — Richardson 19, Blaire 14, Harris 6, Usry 5, Caldwell 4, Connor 4, Harmon 3, A. Blaire 2, Lattimore 2, Angle.
Lexington 5 13 14 13 — 45
Salisbury 19 11 12 17 — 59