High school basketball: Tough loss ends tough season for Salisbury boys

Published 9:21 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

Staff report

MARSHVILLE — Salisbury’s boys basketball team ended the season with a 60-59 loss to top-seeded Forest Hills on Thursday in the second round of the 2A state playoffs.

Seventeenth-seeded Salisbury (17-10) had a two-point lead late, but Forest Hills (27-0) got a steal and a three-point play to make the difference.

Salisbury’s whole season went like that. Nine of the Hornets’ 10 losses came in down-to-the-wire games.

“We hated the draw we got because we knew we knew Salisbury was good enough to make a run through the regional to the state,” Forest Hills coach Matt Sides said. “Ton of respect for Salisbury. They’re tough as nails. It was two heavyweights trading punches, and we were fortunate to advance.”

Salisbury controlled the second quarter and took a 35-30 lead at halftime. Forest Hills had a three-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

Zay Kesler led the Hornets with 20 points. Nate Brown scored 11, while Cam Sout and Jacquez Smith had eight each.

Jalen Huntley led four Forest Hills players in double figures with 16 points.

Salisbury lost to Forest Hills 71-67 in the 2018 regional final. Salisbury lost 81-79 to Forest Hills in a second-round game in 2017.

Salisbury probably was the county’s strongest boys team. The Hornets went 5-0 in county games. They beat West Rowan by 20 in the Christmas tournament and beat North Rowan by 19 in January.

Forest Hills moves on to host Lake Norman Charter (22-6) on Saturday.


SALISBURY (59) — Kesler 20, Brown 11, Stout 8, Smith 8, Walker 6, Witherspoon 4, White 2.

FOREST HILLS (60) — Huntley 16, Barbour 11, Topper 11, Hester 10, Wright 6, Burch 3. Barrier 3.        

Salisbury            14   21   10 14 —59

Forest Hills       20   10  18 12 —60