Prep Basketball: Salisbury girls 63, East Davidson 52 (OT)

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 10, 2012

By Mike London
SALISBURY — Salisbury girls coach Chris McNeil looked for an opportunity to take out his lone senior Doreen Richardson, so she could hear a Senior Night ovation, but he had to wait until there were 16 seconds left in overtime.
Salisbury survived again in the CCC on Friday, weathering awful foul trouble for star soph Brielle Blaire and awful foul shooting to beat East Davidson 63-52 in OT.
McNeil jokes that Richardson goes 100 miles per hour in a 35 zone, but her blinding defensive speed was critical to the Hornets getting through this one.
“I just wanted this game to end,” Richardson said. “I love this team, but we couldn’t make free throws tonight, and I don’t know why.”
Salisbury (22-2, 10-0) was perfect in the CCC for the third straight season and won its 36th league game in a row. Still, it’s been a battle. The Hornets twice have prevailed in OT. Three more CCC games went to the wire.
“I’m proud we went 10-0 in this league,” McNeil said. “Every team was improved. There’s some talent.”
East Davidson forced OT on a 3-pointer by Alyssa Howell with five seconds left. She made a terrific shot from the right wing after chasing down a rebound.
It’s hard to believe OT happened because the visitors shot a brutal 1-for-16 in the first quarter and trailed 23-14 at halftime.
“The first half we rushed shots and played scared,” ED coach Don Corry said. “The second half we played well.”
The game changed because ED’s Jennifer Welborn scored 18 of her 22 points after the break and Blaire (24 points) got her third and fourth fouls — bang-bang — early in the third quarter.
When Richardson scored on a fierce drive with 54 seconds left in regulation, the Hornets led 45-39, but they treated free throws like horseshoes — getting close was good enough — and the scrappy Golden Eagles (11-11, 3-7) finally got even on Howell’s improbable shot.
Blaire missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation, but steals by Blaire and her younger sister, Ashley, allowed the Hornets to take command immediately in the overtime.
With SHS up 11, McNeil gave Richardson her moment, and the crowd roared.
“A lot of respect is due Doreen,” he said. “She’s overcome a lot of injuries.”
EAST DAVIDSON (52) — Welborn 22, Howell 9, Isom 7, Morgan 5, Bell 5, Pope 2, Grimsley 2.
SALISBURY (63) — B. Blaire 24, Richardson 14, A. Blaire 11, Connor 6, Caldwell 4, Harman 2, Okonmah-Obazee 2, Lattimore.
E. Dav. 4 10 6 26 6 — 52
Salisbury 12 11 9 14 17 — 63