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Prep basketball: Hornets romp against South boys

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The 29th straight loss for South Rowan’s boys basketball team came in a running-clock game against a talented opponent.
Salisbury led 9-0 early in its home gym, went up 22-3 after a quarter, led 41-12 at halftime, and eventually demolished the cold-shooting Raiders, 66-30.
Thirteen different Hornets scored. Salisbury limited the minutes for studs such as Tre Oats and Trell Baker and did everything it could not to run the score up.
“That was hard to play,” Salisbury coach Bryan Withers said. “I care about those South guys and I’ve still got mixed feelings when we beat them. South gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach and there are a lot of great people down there.”
Withers was 27-45 in three seasons at South. Coming home to Salisbury, the school where he played on a state-championship team, Withers went 18-5 in his debut last season.
It’s not like Withers suddenly became a more brilliant coach. Withers got plenty out of what he had at South, but he’s got a whole lot more horses at Salisbury. As a rule, good players make winning coaches.
Andre McCain, in his second at season at South, is working as hard as any of his coaching counterparts, but getting a win or two this season is going to be a serious challenge. It would be a challenge for Mike Krzyzewski.
“Tonight was just embarrassing,” McCain said. “Salisbury is a very good team, but we expected a much better showing than what we had. I do know we’ll change our warmup routine because we were not game ready. We were not ready to play when the game started.”
Will Leckonby hit two quick 3-pointers as the Hornets (4-1) hustled to a 9-0 lead. South didn’t score in the first three minutes. Bailey Graham finally got the Raiders (0-5) on the board.
When Oshaun Robinson closed the quarter with a jumper, the Hornets already were in complete command, 22-3.
“I really liked what our second group did when they went in there,” Withers said. “This could’ve been a trap game for us as far as not playing well, but we did a good job.”
Connor Childers and Andrew Hubbard made 3-pointers for South in the second quarter. The 3-ball by Hubbard, a South golfer, were the first points of his career. He didn’t try out for basketball until his senior year.
Zae Harris, who led the Hornets with 10 points, had two buckets in the second quarter.
When Withers went back to his starters to open the second half, the lead quickly snowballed. Tre Oats was blocking shots, andd Leckonby’s three-point play midway through the third quarter pushed Salisbury’s lead to 40 points. That triggered a running clock for the remainder of the night.
Salisbury led by as many as 42 points.
“Salisbury was playing fast, and they were all over the court,” McCain said.
Graham had a fine fourth quarter for South, making two 3-pointers and getting inside for a three-point play opportunity to help get the final margin down to 36. Tyrese Shaver also had a three-point play in the fourth quarter for the Raiders.
Salisbury wasn’t fantastic at the foul line — 13-for-23 — but the Hornets were deadly compared to the visitors.
South shot just 6-for-20 on free throws. That struggle was in addition to missing at least a dozen layups.
“We couldn’t buy a free throw and we missed so many little shots,” McCain said. “Our confidence is down right now, but we’ve got to fight through it and keep playing hard.”
•••
NOTES: Harris and Bill Fisher dunked for the Hornets. … South plays Carson at home tonight, while the Hornets go to Greensboro Smith. Smith is the team that handed the Hornets their lone setback.

SOUTH (30)
Graham 13, Childers 5, Shaver 5, Hubbard 3, Sellers 2, Kluttz 1, Corriher 1, Powers, Clodfelter, Harrington, Peacock.

SALISBURY (66)
Harris 10, Leckonby 9, Baker 8, Oats 8, Fisher 6, Robinson 6, Moss 5, T. Mashore 4, Davis 2, Williams 2, Horne 2, Gill 2, Goodlett 2, R. Mashore.

South Rowan 3 9 6 12 — 30
Salisbury 22 19 19 6 — 66

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