High school basketball: Hornets falter in 3rd quarter, end 25-5 season
Tough ending for Salisbury's girls
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Forbush’s girls basketball team settled Tuesday’s regional semifinal with an electric couple of minutes to start the second half.
Parkley Hennings, a 5-foot-11 inside-out threat, scored 20 points, and the Falcons dominated the third quarter and went on to beat Salisbury, 55-41. Forbush advanced to the 2A regional final in Hickory against top-seeded and unbeaten Mountain Heritage.
Second-seeded Salisbury, playing on its home floor where it hadn’t lost all season, went back-and-forth with Forbush (27-3) in a combative first half. Both teams trudged to the locker room exhausted after a frantic first half. Third-seeded Forbush led at the break, 21-20.
“We’d missed a lot of chances, but only being down one at the half, I did feel pretty good,” Salisbury coach Lakai Brice said. “We weren’t in any major foul trouble, and I knew we could play a lot better in the second half. I really expected us to pick up the intensity.”
In the other locker room, Forbush coach Bradley Shore saw concerned looks on the faces of a team built around the skills of three juniors — Hennings and guards Nicole Scott and Hope Grimes.
Shore tried to lighten the mood, ease the tension, instill more confidence.
“Usually, we’re up big at halftime, and that’s why our girls looked worried and had these tight game faces on,” Shore said. “I told them I was having a blast. Here we are on their home court and we’ve got the lead. Even if it was only one point, we did have the lead. I tried to convince them this was our game if we just keep doing what we do. I don’t know that it was that great of a halftime speech. We didn’t change any strategy. But we went back out there and played with a whole lot of confidence.”
Hennings made a free throw to get the second half started. She missed her second foul shot, but Scott sneaked in for the rebound, and the Falcons had two more on the scoreboard
Soon it was a snowball rolling out of control. Salisbury’s 6-2 senior star Bryanna Troutman had made it to halftime with only one personal, but her second and third fouls came within 30 seconds of each other, the critical third one on the offensive end. Kyndall Ellison made two free throws for Forbush. Hennings powered for two inside, and suddenly, it was 28-20.
“When the big girl (Troutman) got her third foul, we could just feel the momentum swinging our way,” said Hennings, who is being recruited by colleges for volleyball as well as basketball. “We knew we had a chance to take over, and that was an amazing feeling.”
Forbush fans had come to Salisbury in great numbers. They got loud. The Hornets were reeling. A timeout didn’t settle things down much.
“We were playing as hard as we could, but the ball just wasn’t bouncing our way,” Brice said. “We missed a big boxout on a free throw. That hurt. Then Bry gets in foul trouble, and then they’re going to the line a lot. We got behind and never really recovered.”
The third foul on Salisbury’s floor leader Anayia Fulson came right after that, and even the most optimistic Salisbury supporter saw this game was slipping away.
When Scott and Hennings connected on 3-pointers back-to-back — Hennings from well behind the 3-point arc — the lead swelled to 41-27 as the third quarter ended.
“Hennings is a matchup nightmare for everyone because of the way she can handle the ball and shoot from outside,” Shore said. “Troutman is bigger than her and stronger than her, but they couldn’t put Troutman on Hennings because they were worried about her getting in foul trouble. Not many people have held Hennings down this season.”
Salisbury played much better in the fourth quarter, scrapped and fought, and Troutman got 10 of her 18 points in those final eight minutes.
But Forbush ran its delay game smoothly, starting with five minutes to go. Scott made good decisions. Hennings buried another 3-ball. Grimes was deadly at the line.
The Hornets couldn’t mount any sort of serious comeback and finished a fine season at 25-5.
“Jinika Glenn played some great defense for us,” Brice said. “We just didn’t take care of some little things and that hurt us, but this team came a long way this year. I’m truly proud of all the girls.”
Troutman, Glenn, Tacorra Robinson, Chantal Robinson and Nasya Evans are seniors.
Troutman reached 1,600 points, finishing a marvelous career with a number that will be easy for everyone to remember. As she walked out of the locker room for the final time, she received an ovation from Salisbury fans in the hallway.
Fulson scored 13 and finished her junior season with 982 career points.
For Forbush, Scott (15), who is quick, and Grimes (14), who is feisty, provided Hennings with the scoring help she needed.
“Those are our three horses,” Shore said. “That was a heck of a game, closer than the score indicates, and Salisbury is a really good team. If we played them tomorrow night, this score might be reversed. But we only had to be better than them tonight, and tonight we were.”
FORBUSH (55) — Hennings 20, Scott 15, Grimes 14, Ellison 4, Gammons 2, Beane, Anthony.
SALISBURY (41) — Troutman 18, Fulson 13, McCullough 6, T. Robinson 3, Gibson 1, Glenn, C. Robinson, Oats, Mashore, Brown.
Forbush 9 12 20 14 — 55
Salisbury 10 10 7 14 —41