High school basketball: Hornets sizzle in CCC showdown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s boys basketball team embraced the challenge of a huge game, fed off a nice crowd and posted a 93-72 blowout of a racehorse Thomasville squad.

The Hornets scored 56 points in a brisk second half. Cameron Stout finished with 26 points and seven rebounds. Mike Geter careered with 20 points and eight steals. Juke Harris is good enough that he totaled 19 points and eight boards on a night that wasn’t his best.

“Sometimes I don’t give enough credit to the other team, but that’s a heck of a team Thomasville has,” Salisbury head coach Bryan Withers said. “They’re quick, they’re tough, and they’re well-coached. But we shared the ball well. Guys are starting to see how good we can be when we’re totally unselfish.”

Both teams came into Monday’s showdown undefeated in the 1A/2A Central Carolina Conference. Salisbury (11-3, 6-0) won its ninth straight overall. Thomasville (11-4, 5-1) had won three in a row and eight out nine, but the 1A Bulldogs couldn’t stick with the 2A Hornets in the second half.

Thomasville has beaten North Rowan twice and Salisbury owns an emphatic win against Lexington. Both teams are likely headed for No. 1 seeds in the state playoffs.

Thomasville started hot behind quick guard Janhri Luckey (18 points), made some jumpers, created easy points with steals and went up 15-9.

Not a lot went right for the Hornets early, as Harris missed multiple free throws and was whistled for two fouls, but after Hank Webb made a nice pass to Stout for an easy two, the Hornets started to fight back. They trailed 19-16 after a quarter.

“Our leading scorer (Harris) had two fouls, so I had to take the load,” Stout said. “I continued to shoot and made some shots, and as team we stayed very composed when things didn’t go our way early. Mike Geter had a great game. He plays his role and likes to be a facilitator, but we all know Mike can score when we need him to score.”

Stout made two 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Hornets caught up and pushed ahead. Withers pleaded from the sideline for Stout “to go to work.” The senior forward punched the clock and responded in a big way.

Stout, who scored one less than his career high, buried a long 3-pointer to close the half. That shot sent the surging Hornets to the locker room with a 37-30 lead.

“That shot meant momentum,” Stout said. “We were very confident in the locker room at halftime. Play as a team and spread the ball around, and we knew we’d be OK.”

Salisbury enjoyed a decisive flurry to open the second half. Deuce Walker scored off a steal. Harris lobbed to Geter for a layup. Stout went flying in for a stickback, and the Hornets suddenly led by double digits.

Geter was everywhere, tormenting the Bulldogs with steals, finishing strong, finding teammates. He had never scored more than 13 in a varsity game, but he shattered his career high. Competition brought out the best in him on the court just as it did on the field as Salisbury’s football quarterback.

“Mike is a natural leader,” Withers said. “Big games like this, you’re going to get everything he has. Once he got in the flow of the game, he was really good.”

Jalen Chunn’s floater and back-to-back buckets by Harris on a stickback and a breakaway dunk pushed the lead to 18.

Salisbury led by as many as 27.

Walker and Chunn were solid and had four assists each. They also scored six each. Nick Antosek, tallest man on the floor, finished inside three times for six more.

Withers was high-fiving everyone in sight by the end of a dazzling second-half display.

“These guys have made me a little bit mad in the last few games and the last few practices,” Withers said. “But they played tonight, and we’re just starting to blend. We’re going to get a lot better.”

Salisbury scored 94 in a 94-48 rout of South Davidson, so this wasn’t a season high for points, but it was a season high for efficiency and electricity.

The Hornets will play at home again tonight against East Davidson.

Thomasville    19    11   18   24   — 72

Salisbury         16    21   24   32   — 93

THOMASVILLE — Luckey 18, Gladden 13, McCoy 12, Washington 9, Graham 6, Henry 5, Dickerson 4.

SALISBURY — Stout 26, Geter 20, Harris 19, Antosek 6, Walker 6, Chunn 6, Brown 4, H. Webb 3, Neal 2, Woodruff 1.