Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 23, 2013

SALISBURY — It was like a family reunion at Salisbury High Friday night with a pretty decent girl’s basketball game thrown in for good measure.
For the record the Hornets pulled away from the North Hills Christian, 58-40, thanks to an explosive second half by their senior guard Monifa Angle.
It was also the opening game for Salisbury (1-0) and the debut of their new head coach Lakai Brice. As an added twist, Brice, a former star player at Catawba, spent the last three seasons coaching the Lady Eagles (0-2) so she knew them all too well.
“It was a great game but it was also bittersweet,” Brice stated following an outbreak of postgame hugs with her former players. “They came out and played hard and so did we. But I was very pleased with our overall effort for a first game.”
The game was also significant because it marked the first-ever meeting between the private Christian school and a Rowan public high school team.
“I was really impressed with our girls,” the new Eagle Coach Karissa Duncan said. “They came in here in a situation they have never experienced before against a bigger team. Plus they were playing their former coach from last year and all the girl just love her.”
Salisbury never trailed after taking a 5-4 lead on long three by Tyzarea Alexander just three minutes in, but the Eagles hung tough for the first half, down 25-17, thanks to point guard Olivia Houghton and senior wing Natalie Whicker (10 points).
Then as if she flipped a switch, Angle decided to take over the game in the second half. The 5-9 guard opened the third period with three quick steals off the pressing defense and three baskets. By the end of the period her long three from the top of the key had Salisbury cruising 40-22.
With just two points in the first half, Angle exploded for 19 more in the second half to lead the win.
“I just didn’t give up on myself and my team didn’t either,” she stated. “It was a good first game but I think I can do better.”
Brice said she challenged her senior leader to take command after intermission. “I told Mo you are a senior, you are our point guard and you have to step up,” she said.
The Eagles did have some life left in them in the final quarter thanks to six points and strong rebounding off the bench by freshman guard Dajah Glenn. But the Hornet lead reach as high as 21 points and never got closer than 17 down the stretch.
Salisbury also received strong inside play from lefty center Nyasia Harris with 11 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. The Hornets used nine players in their opener and all of them scored.
“It was a good effort but we have to work on our chemistry now.” Brice stated “With so many new players we need to mesh and come together as a team”
The Hornets return to action next Tuesday at home against West Rowan then hit the road the day after Thanskgiving to play at North Wilkes.

SALISBURY (58) — Angle 21, Harris 11, Hightower 7, Anderson 6, Philpot 4, Alexander 3, Wolfe 2, Jones 2, Charles 2.
NORTH HILLS (40) — Whicker 10, Lyerly 9, Glenn 6, Eagle 6, Houghton 6, Plummer 3, Hogan.
North Hills 6 11 5 18 — 40
Salisbury 14 11 15 18 — 58