Salisbury boys: Tired of taking their lumps
It’s been a rough couple of years for Salisbury. A team of mostly underclassmen took its shots to the chin the past two seasons in the Central Carolinas Conference.
The Hornets finished three games under .500 and ended the regular season in a three-way tie for third in the league. The season ended in the first round of the 2A state playoffs with a 12-point loss to North Rowan.
Four players were lost to graduation after last year, but none of them was close to averaging double figures in scoring. Returning are double-digit scorers Deshawn Troutman and D.J. Alexander and consistent contributor Wes Fazia.
Fazia and Tre Oats both stand 6-foot-7.
This is the year for the Hornets to challenge North Rowan and Lexington for the league title.
“The last two years, the bulk of the guys starting a bulk of the time as freshmen and sophomores,” head coach Jason Causby said. “I’ve really seen them come a long way. We’re at the point now where I can see them grow up and see them be a more consistent team night in and night out.”
To break out of that middle pack, the team has tried to become a more consistent unit. It’s also worked to build a chip on its shoulder and a tough attitude.
That was lacking at times last season, especially toward the end. The Hornets were 6-4 coming out of the Sam Moir Christmas Classic. They were 11-7 going into the first meeting with North Rowan. The loss that night was the first of seven straight — three of them to the Cavaliers — to end the season.
“The biggest thing is developing that presence or that swagger about the group,” Causby said. “Player for player, I think we can compete with anybody on the schedule.”
Deshawn Troutman, junior, guard
Salisbury’s leading scorer last year with 12.4 points per game. Causby said Troutman “dialed in day in and day out” and is capable of scoring points while getting his teammates involved.
Shaleek Williams, sophomore, guard
William will share the backcourt with Troutman. He’ll supply the toughness Causby wants all five guys on the court to have. He can score, handle the ball and is good on defense.
D.J. Alexander, junior, forward
Alexander is a three-year starter and has the potential to be the team’s best rebounder. Causby said Alexander has worked to develop a face-up game instead of being a back-to-the-basket player.
Wes Fazia, sophomore, forward
Fazia, standing at 6-foot-7, brings the height. Causby said Fazia is a dynamic scorer from 15 feet and in with an “unorthodox” game. He can finish around the rim and has a good mid-range jumper.
Tre Oats, sophomore, center
As a freshman, he scored just 16 points all season. Causby said Oats grew into his body over summer and has a lot of potential that has yet to be tapped.
THE HORNETS’ HOOPSOGRAPHY
No. of returners: 7
2013-14 record: 11-14, 4-6 CCC
2013-14 conf. finish: T-3rd