CCC Girls Final: Thomasville 66, Salisbury 59
By Mike London
TYRO — Thomasville’s Jashana Thomas made a first-quarter 3-pointer while falling on her backside, and she banked in an even more improbable 3-ball in the third quarter.
It was Thomasville’s night in the championship game of the CCC tournament, and the Bulldogs handed Salisbury a 66-59 loss that was only a surprise to the folks who didn’t see the earlier games. The Hornets had to play their stingers off to beat Thomasville 66-65 and 66-62 during the regular season.
Thomas scored 20 points, and the third-seeded Bulldogs (17-6) weathered a 25-point night by Brielle Blaire.
“This is special for our program,” said Thomasville’s first-year coach Brandon Staton. We had great attitude combined with great effort.”
The win probably was even more special than Staton realizes, and it could herald the end of an era. Salisbury had won 36 straight games against CCC opposition, with the last loss coming in the 2009 tournament final to East Davidson.
Salisbury (23-3) hadn’t lost to Thomasville since the measles-shortened 1988-89 season, although the schools hadn’t often since 1989 until Thomasville moved up to 2A for the 2009-10 season.
For the Hornets, who couldn’t overcome 24 turnovers, it’s not the end of the world, and they kept the CCC’s top seed for the 2A state playoffs.
“Sometimes you have to lose before you can win,” said senior Doreen Richardson, who has played on the winning side in the last three 2A championship games. “It was a great game tonight, and I enjoyed it. It can help us. It should make us hungry.”
Thomasville, the CCC’s No. 2 seed for the playoffs was the hungrier team Friday from the get-go and took a 33-31 halftime lead on a 3-pointer by Jonesha Davis.
Thomasville was a hurricane of red in the third quarter, shooting 60 percent, scoring 26 points and overwhelming the Hornets with an avalanche of runners. Salisbury couldn’t buy one, and suddenly the Bulldogs led 59-40.
Richardson got 10 of her 12 points down the stretch, and the Hornets made a spirited run that peaked with Briana Caldwell’s layup that made it 63-56 with two minutes left. But the Hornets couldn’t get all the way back.
“Thomasville was the better team tonight and had momentum most of the game,” Salisbury coach Chris McNeil said. “We exhausted all of our energy coming back from that big deficit, and when we had a chance to get close, we made costly turnovers.”
The Bulldogs made just one field goal in the final quarter, but they hit enough free throws to finish the job.
“Salisbury is state champion and No. 1 for a reason,” Staton said. “We knew they’d come back. That’s who they are and what they do. But I was proud my girls hung on.”
THOMASVILLE (66) — Thomas 20, Coleman 14, Lambert 12, Spires 11, Wood 6, Davis 3, Kinley.
SALISBURY (59) — B. Blaire 25, Richardson 12, Lattimore 6, Connor 4, Caldwell 4, Harman 4, Usry 2, A. Blaire 2, Harris.
Thomasville 17 16 26 7 — 66
Salisbury 15 16 11 17 — 59