Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2013
SALISBURY — Salisbury rallied to defeat Lexington 61-54 Friday in a key CCC game.
The Hornets allowed just five points in the fourth quarter and got a game-high 28 from junior Brielle Blaire to remain in the playoff hunt.
“Things were going against us at first,” Salisbury coach Tony Hillian said. “But I told them they have to play great defense and that leads to instant offense.”
Salisbury (12-10, 4-4) got big baskets late and Lexington (11-9, 5-3) failed to hit a field goal for the final 9:52 of action. Patreece Lattimore and Ashley Blaire forced a turnover in the final seconds despite both suffering injuries in the scrum for possession.
“Coach kept telling us it was our time,” Brielle Blaire said. “We had it set in our mind to play like we know we can play.”
Ashley Blaire hit a trey in the waning seconds of the first to give the Hornets a 17-15 lead after a quarter. Lexington went on a 8-0 run to go ahead 27-21 that Salisbury answered and took the lead back on back-to-back shots by Brielle Blaire.
Jasmine Carter banked in a three-pointer at the first-half buzzer to give the Yellow Jackets a 33-32 lead at the break. Alexis Fowler scored six straight to put Lexington up 49-41 late in the third quarter. The Hornets got back in it with consecutive jumpers from Daterria Connor and a shot from Brielle Blaire to the game at 49.
“We just got away from what got us that lead,” Lexington coach Lamont Johnson said. “I’m shocked at how we played in the second half.”
Bryanna Caldwell hit two free throws to tie the game at 52 and Nyasia Harris gave Salisbury the lead for keeps on a FT with 1:30 left. Connor made a huge play on a steal near midcourt and threw it to Lattimore, who finished a layup and made it 55-52 with 45 seconds left. Brielle Blaire missed two free throws with 30 seconds left, but Lattimore grabbed a huge board that led to two more shots for Blaire.
“I’m really proud of our team and everybody stepped up big time,” Blaire said.
After Lexington’s turnover with 12 seconds left, Caldwell shot and hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game. Brielle Blaire hit two more to ice it.
Carter led Lexington with 22 points while Fowler (15 points) and Emerson Hayes (14 points) poured in effective nights. Salisbury forced 17 turnovers.
“From the start of the game I thought this was one of the best games we’ve played,” Hillian said. “We played pretty well in our defense in the zone and the man.”
LEXINGTON (54) — Carter 22, Fowler 15, Hayes 14, Walls 2, Ellison 1, Sanders, Nichols, Husborne, Vinson.
SALISBURY (61) — B. Blaire 28, Connor 9, A. Blaire 7, Harris 5, Caldwell 4, Harmon 4, Lattimore 2, Gloster 2, Wolfe.
Lexington 15 18 16 5 — 54
Salisbury 17 15 11 19 — 61