• 54°

Boys basketball: Hornets win close one

SALISBURY — It’s too soon to take the Salisbury boys basketball team’s temperature, but things are heating up on Lincolnton Road.

The Hornets won for the fourth time in five games Thursday night when they held off A.L. Brown, 61-56, in their home-opener.

“A year ago, when we were mostly sophomores,  I don’t think we could have finished the way we did,” coach Jason Causby said. “So we’re seeing growth. That’s all you can ask for.”

It felt like a gut check with a capital G to several Salisbury players. SHS squandered a pair of 10-point, first-half leads and held a 54-42 edge after junior Wes Fazia scored on a fastbreak layup with 3:43 remaining.

“I think we showed a lot of character,” the 6-foot-7 Fazia said after netting 15 points. “Even though we lost those leads, we made our free throws when we had to. This was a really good win.”

It was a knuckle-to-knuckle match, particularly in the second half. Brown (1-2), which trailed 28-20 at halftime, emerged from its locker room with renewed vigor and spark. The Wonders took their first lead since the early going when junior guard Damon Johnson stole a pass and raced home for a layup, putting the guests ahead 34-32 midway through the third quarter. Later they regained the lead when Jaylon Neal threaded a fadeaway jumper from the left side — and wound up on the seat of his pants.

“We have all this talent,” Johnson said after a 12-point effort. “We just need to play together and use that talent more than we did tonight.”

Salisbury appeared in mid-season form as the third period ticked to a close. DeShawn Troutman’s runaway layup sandwiched around a pair of Will Leckonby 3-pointers just 40 seconds apart gave the Hornets a seven-point advantage.

“Will’s by far our best shooter,” Causby said. “He’s a 10th-grader, so you’re just now getting a little game-savvy. He’s got a fluid shot.”

The Hornets used a stickback by Leckonby, who totaled 11 points, and a bucket by 6-4 junior D.J. Alexander (15 points) to take another double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter. And when Fazia took a bounce pass from Alexander and hit his pivotal layup — their final basket — they were threatening to run away and hide.

“Yeah, but Kannapolis is a tough team,” Alexander said. “They gave us a good battle. We wanted to move more up front, but they kept fronting us. Fortunately our guards did a good job getting the ball to us when we needed them to.”

The Wonders staged a ferocious comeback in the closing moments when they routinely snagged offensive rebounds and created second and third scoring chances. They inched as close as 56-53 when Johnson drained a 3-ball from the left side with 1:56 to play. Salisbury withstood the charge by slowing the game’s pace and converting seven of 10 free throws down the stretch.

“When we learn to play the whole game as hard as we did in the last four minutes, we’ll be a much better team,” said Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz. “We can’t play hard in spurts.”

Causby simply appreciated the Hornets’ late-game fortitude. “We’re getting tested early, which is a good thing,” he said. “Our schedule is tough from top-to-bottom. There aren’t any gimmes.”




A.L. BROWN (56): Da.Johnson 12, Sutton 12, Ja.Neal 10, Jo.Neal 9, Cummings 9, Britt 4, Dr.Johnson, Ca.Butler, Co.Butler, McDowell.

SALISBURY (61): Alexander 15, Fazia 15, Troutman 12, Leckonby 11, Williams 5, Rayner 2, Oats 1, J.Yang, A.Yang, Mashore.

A.L. Brown 6  14  18  18 — 56

Salisbury 9  19  17  16 — 61


Ask Us

Ask us: Will masks be required in Rowan County polling locations?


Political Notebook: Tillis, Cunningham differ on when to fill SCOTUS vacancy


Local state trooper, firefighter returns home after Army deployment


Blast from the past: Concordia Lutheran Church opens time capsule from previous century


Blotter: Salisbury man charged with damaging video camera, tresspassing


North Carolina man faces over 300 sex-related charges


Coastal flooding along Outer Banks closes roads


GOP hopeful Supreme Court battle will help shift election


‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement


Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep


Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many


Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106


Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel


From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort


Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion


Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints


Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal


Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it


UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility


In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump


5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody


Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota


Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87