Salisbury boys cruise by West Davidson
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — The top-seeded Salisbury boys basketball team took its post-season vehicle for a test-drive Monday night and turned it into a spirited layup drill.
From wheels-up to wheels-down, the Hornets’ 86-38 victory over West Davidson in the Central Carolina Conference Tournament opening round was a statement game.
“My guys know this is a different time … it’s tournament time,” coach Bryan Withers said. “On the back of our (warm-up) shirts it says, ‘Always Chasing.’ No matter what, we’re always chasing something down. First it was the regular season (championship), now it’s the tournament and next it’ll be the state.”
Salisbury (22-2) will carry a 10-game winning streak into the tourney semifinals against No. 4 Lexington at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Hornets have won 12 of their last 13 games and improved to 10-0 at home.
“It was all defense,” senior Trell Baker said. “That’s all we play is help-side defense. And if we play like we did tonight, no one in the conference can beat us. This might be the best defense we’ve played all year. We came in with a clear head.”
They must have. Salisbury jumped to a 32-13 first-quarter lead and stretched it to 55-22 by halftime. When forward Lonnie Rogers sank a door-step hook shot with 6:30 remaining in the third period, the Hornets were up 62-22 and a running clock was engaged. Baker finished with a game-high 15 points as 13 players cracked the scoring column.
“Man, we had a lot of defensive steals and were making the right plays,” Withers said. “We were ready for anything.”
“We were scrambling around,” added Baker. “Everybody made the extra pass. Nobody was selfish. That’s the whole reason we are where we are.”
While victories have come handily this season, Salisbury’s lone complaint is that esteem has not. “These kids don’t feel respected, by their peers or whatever,” Withers said. “People think it’s a fluke that they’ve got 22 wins. So they go out and play hard.”
Baker, for his part, says that only adds to the team’s weaponry.
“It’s really just motivates us,” he said. “People think we’re down. We just show ’em when we play.”
NOTES: Lexington (14-9) advanced with an 85-63 first-round win against Ledford on Monday. … Salisbury defeated the Jackets twice in CCC regular-season games, winning 77-65 last Dec. 1 and 73-54 on Jan. 23.
WEST DAVIDSON (38) — Wright 14, Stoner 6, Reamy 4, Stamey 3, Hamblin 3, Adams 3, Bennett 3, Dalton 2, Brown, Black, Charleston.
SALISBURY (86) — Baker 15, Rogers 12, Moss 10, Robinson 10, Kesler 7, Sloan 7, Davis 6, Russell 6, Gill 4, Fisher 4, Bailey 2, McLean 2, Canon 1, Carlton, Phillips, Norman.
West Davidson 13 9 7 9 — 38
Salisbury 32 23 16 15 — 86