SALISBURY — It’s hard to feel like you got away with one when you hold leads of 15 points or more twice in two different quarters.
South Rowan started the boys play in the Moir on fire, jumping out to a 17-3 lead against Salisbury before enduring a Hornets’ run in the third quarter. South dominating the final eight minutes in a 60-41 win in the 4/5 game of the Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
The Hornets fought back to within four at halftime and knotted the score at 33 late in the third quarter. South junior Lavon Hill had a putback to start the 27-9 run the Raiders (4-5) ended the game on.
Hill scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in South’s second-straight win after losing five in a row. SR hit half its shots in the second half to pull away and beat a county team for the first time this season.
“We looked good,” Hill said. “We got on the boards real hard and made shots.”
The fifth-seeded Raiders led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter and things looked all but over when Hill drained his only 3-pointer.
“We’re getting better,” South coach Bryan Withers said. “Once we started attacking, our bigs got open and we got open layups in the middle of the floor. That’s what we have to do.”
T’Vadis Graham-Wesley, who missed three games earlier this month due to suspension, scored 12 points, snagged 11 rebounds and swatted four shots for South.
“At halftime we realized we weren’t playing team basketball,” Graham-Wesley said. “In the second half we started playing South Rowan basketball.”
The Hornets shot 25 percent from the floor and netted only one field goal in the first quarter. Salisbury (6-4) missed all but one of its first 16 shots.
“I thought we’d have some nerves coming out and playing the first game,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “We had to expend a lot of energy to get back into the game.”
After a forgettable start, SHS got back in it. A steal and layup from Corban Usry brought the Hornets within 10 and an easy two from DeShawn Troutman made it 21-16. Troutman drained a trey from just outside the locker room in the final seconds of the half and South’s lead had dwindled to 25-21 at halftime.
The Hornets cut the lead down to a point at 31-30 and Wes Fazia tied it on a three-point play. Hill got a putback to give South the lead for keeps. Shawn Spry, who had an otherwise quiet night with six points, drained a three for a 38-33 lead at the end of the third. Hill hit a bucket to start the fourth and Graham-Wesley sank two free throws to establish South’s edge.
“Every day we try to get a little better and do something different to learn the game a little more,” Withers said.
SALISBURY (41) — Fazia 11, Usry 7, Troutman 6, Canipe 5, Alexander 5, Davis 3, Oats 2, Rayner 2, Brown, Petty, Brown, Payne, Wilson, A. Yang, J. Yang.
SOUTH ROWAN (60) — L. Hill 19, Rhyne 14, Graham-Wesley 11, Holbrook 7, Spry 6, Goldston 3, Wilder, Stewart, Rary, Littlejohn, D. Hill, Childers, Finger.
South Rowan 14 11 13 22 — 60
Salisbury 3 18 12 8 — 41