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Moir Christmas Classic: Salisbury girls whip North Rowan

By Marny Hendrick

sports@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The North Rowan girls gave Salisbury its best shot in the opening 16 minutes of the Dale’s/Sam Moir Christmas Classic Thursday morning. Then they played the second half.

The unbeaten and third seeded Hornets were seriously challenged to open the game at Catawba’s Goodman gym, as star player Bryanna Troutman was on the bench with two early fouls and North was dominating the boards, 20-11. The sixth-seeded Cavaliers led by as many as seven points in the first half and were up, 22-20, at intermission.

Salisbury (8-0) squashed any upset hopes for North (3-5) with a 17-0 shutout in the third period, leading to a 52-28 victory.

The Hornets flipped the switch with an aggressive trapping zone to start the second half, plus the return of Troutman, who sat out the entire second quarter with the foul trouble.

“We have a lot more depth this year and some of our young girls stepped up today with Bryanna on the bench,” said Hornets’ head coach Lakai Brice. “I switched us to zone to start the second half to get after it a little bit more and we were trapping and getting steals to get some easy transition baskets.”

Troutman led the dominating second half for Salisbury with 14 of her game high 16 points — plus 10 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks. Freshman guard Rachel McCullough provided 13 clutch points, especially in the first half, to keep the Hornets in striking distance.

North pulled out to a 17-10 lead in the second quarter behind the shooting and rebounding of Hannah Wilkerson and Natavia Taborn. McCullough responded with a pair of long 3-pointers, plus two foul shots to bring the Hornets to within 22-20 at the half.

Troutman scored 10 points in the third quarter on steals and put-backs as Salisbury went on the 17-0 run to lead,  37-22. By the time North finally scored in the second half with six minutes left in the final period, it was 44-22. Wilkerson did all the scoring for North with a pair of lay-ups and a free throw, but the damage had already been done. The 5-7 freshman guard  finished with 15 to lead the Cavs.

“This is a young and very inexperienced team,” first-year North head coach Lamar Wilkerson noted. “We came out on fire and played very well but that second half was just a lot of mental mistakes and turnovers.”

The win puts Salisbury in the Moir semifinals this afternoon at 3 o’clock, in a battle of unbeatens against second-seeded West Rowan (10-0). North Rowan plays the 9 a.m. consolation bracket game today against Davie (3-6).

NORTH ROWAN (28) — Wilkerson 15, Taborn 6, McDaniel 4, Robbins 3, Shoaf, Lynch, Reid, Sherrill, King.

SALISBURY (52) — Troutman 16, McCullough 13, Fulson 6, Robinson 6, Gibson 4, Brown 4, Mashore 2, Glenn 1, Oats.

North Rowan     15      7      0      6 — 28

Salisbury            10    10    17    15 — 52

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