High school boys basketball: Hornets face talented team on road at 7 tonight
Published 6:23 am Saturday, February 25, 2023
By Mike London
SALISBURY — West Caldwell isn’t the best team Salisbury’s boys have played this season because Salisbury took on some 4A powers, but the Warriors definitely will be the best 2A team the Hornets have seen.
The teams will clash at 7 p.m. tonight at West Caldwell. West Caldwell is in Gamewell, about four miles from Lenoir.
West Caldwell (26-2) is seeded third and has won 18 in a row. The losses were to 3As Freedom and Hibriten.
Salisbury (21-5) is seeded sixth, has won 14 in a row and hasn’t lost since being blown out by 4A Chambers on Dec. 31. In other words, the Hornets haven’t lost in 2023.
The winner of this game will play the survivor of the No. 7 Robinson at No. 2 Reidsville game.
The team stats for West Caldwell and Salisbury could not be more identical. They both score 74 points per game. West Caldwell allows an average of 57. Salisbury allows 56 per game, although the Hornets’ defensive numbers are skewed somewhat by 93 allowed to Chambers and 89 allowed to Olympic. The Hornets probably are better on defense than on offense.
West Caldwell and Salisbury were both eliminated from the playoffs last season by North Surry, which gives them one more thing in common.
Where they sharply contrast is how they get to 74 points per game.
West Caldwell has four double-digit scorers led by 6-foot-3 Malek Patterson (19.5) and 6-foot-2 Jordan Patterson (16.7), But in Thursday’s second-round win against Community School of Davidson, it was 6-foot guard Jayden Maddox who led West Caldwell with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Zion Thomas also averages double figures.
While Salisbury also puts up 74, 30 of those 74 come from one guy.
Jayden “Juke” Harris, a 6-foot-6 junior guard who is being heavily recruited, broke the county record for points in a season during Tuesday’s 60-56 win against East Surry. He has scored 771.
No one else averages double digits for the Hornets, although in a tough game — and this one will be about as tough as it gets — Mike Geter can be counted on for double figures. He scores when needed.
The Hornets also get reasonably consistent points from Deuce Walker, Hank Webb, Dashawn Brown and Jonathan Ross. Jalen Chunn and Tre Davis chip in.
What’s encouraging for the Hornets is that in two of their last three games, Harris was held way below his average, but the Hornets still won.
He scored a season-low 15 in the Central Carolina Conference Tournament championship game against Thomasville, but four teammates scored in double figures in a 69-62 decision.
In the second-round struggle against East Surry on Thursday, Harris scored 18 and didn’t score in the fourth quarter, but Geter and Webb reached double figures and Ross made huge plays to key a 60-56 victory.
East Surry made a phenomenal number of foul shots to stay in the game with the Hornets.
Salisbury appeared to have things under control coming down the stretch, but that’s when East Surry made three straight 3-pointers to erase a nine-point deficit.
Ross’ tie-breaking 3-pointer, steal and layup saved the Hornets. The clutch 3-pointer was his fourth one. All came from the corner. That’s his spot.
East Surry 16 8 15 17 — 56
Salisbury 17 13 17 13 — 60
Salisbury — Harris 18, Ross 14, Geter 11, Webb 10, Brown 3, Walker 2, Davis 2.