SALISBURY — North Hills Christian School looked ready to shock the world Friday night at Salisbury High but in the end they just had to settle for a little history.
The small private school from up on West Innes Street finally got a basketball game with a Rowan public school and although the Hornets won 75-64. the Eagles proved their competitive point.
Led by talented forward Chris Taylor (19 pts.), North Hills (0-2) sprinted out the gate and led 12-0 before the Hornets responded. Salisbury (1-0) finally caught up late in the first half then used their superior speed, depth and defense to steadily pull away in the third period.
“We wanted to come out tonight and let Rowan County know there is another basketball team up the hill,” Eagle coach Butch Lewis stated. “We think we can be competitive and we would like the opportunity to play some more in the county.”
Taylor and fellow forward Ian Bradshaw (13 pts.) stunned the Hornets with hot shooting and hustle to build leads of 12-0, 15-5 and 17-7 early.
“They were definitely more keyed up than we were to start,” Hornet coach Jason Causby noted. “I felt like we might have to weather a rough start but we were going to stick to our guns and try to keep the pace in our favor.”
The Eagles roster only has eight players so pressure defense and waves of Hornet subs took its toll.Salisbury super sophs Deshawn Troutman and KJ Wilson along with sharpshooter Jeryon Davis imposed themselves in the second period to actually lead 25-23 and end the half tied at 27.
The tide completely turned Salisbury’s way in the third period as they rolled up 27 points led by a pair of threes by Davis and another by Corban Usry. The 6-5 Wilson also came up big inside (16 points) in the final half as Hornet veterans Wes Fazia and Jon Mark Petty were saddled with foul problems most of the game.
The Eagles made a final push in the early fourth period as guards Collin Lewis and James Houghton hit some long range shots. A 54-44 Hornet lead was suddenly 54-50 with just under six minutes left.
That was when the swift-footed Troutman went on a roll with 14 of his team high 24 down the stretch to push the margin out to a more comfortable level. He combined a sequence of steals with a some twisting drives to the hoop to take command.
“I just wanted to win,” Troutman said. “And me and my team were able to come through. I had to be more aggressive because I want to be a leader on this team.”
Causby was pleased with the overall effort especially for a first game of the season.
“We had guys stepping up all over the place tonight,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better game tonight from Troutman and Wilson.”
The Eagles, who brought a busload of supporters to the Hornet gym, were coming off a tough 62-60 loss to Gaston Christian the night before.
“Our players are in great shape,” Lewis noted, “but our lack of depth wears us down a little. But I am proud of the effort they gave.”
Meanwhile Salisbury has another big date before Thanksgiving when they host county rival West Rowan next Tuesday.
SALISBURY (75) — Troutman 24, Wilson 16, Fazia 9, Usary 9, Davis 9, Canipe 2, Petty 2, Raynor 2, Brown 2, Oates, J. Yang, Alexander.
NORTH HILLS (64) — Taylor 19, Bradshaw 13, Lewis 9, Murdock 7, Patterson 6, Houghton 5, Beck 5, Smith.
North Hills 17 10 17 20 — 64
Salisbury 10 17 27 21 — 75
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