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(3) Salisbury holds off (5) East Burke, advances to 2A girls basketball championship game

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— The (3) Salisbury girls basketball team is headed for the 2A state championship game after holding of (5) East Burke in a low-scoring regional championship.

With one minute left in the fourth quarter, Salisbury held a 38-36 lead. The Hornets finished the game on a 5-1 run to claim a 43-37 victory.

Icesis Nwafor helped Salisbury to an early lead in the first quarter, scoring eight points in the opening frame as the Hornets took an 11-10 lead into the second quarter.

It was in the second quarter when Salisbury found just a little bit of separation. East Burke was held to just one field goal in the second quarter, while Salisbury scored 12 points — led by a pair of three-point baskets by Nwafor and Makayla Noble. The Hornets took a 23-15 lead into halftime.

But the Cavaliers chipped away gradually in the second half. Braelyn Stilwell and Taylor Bostain combined for seven points in the third quarter as East Burke trimmed the deficit to 31-25 going into the fourth quarter.

Stilwell was critical in the fourth quarter too as East Burke got within a single possession. She scored five more points in the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers got four points from Kara Brinkley, but it wasn’t enough.

Free throws down the stretch, including five from Kyla Bryant, helped Salisbury hold off the East Burke comeback attempt.

Only four players scored in the game for Salisbury, led by Noble and Bryant who each scored 14 points. Nowfer added 13 points and Haley Dalton scored two points.

East Burke was led in scoring by Stilwell’s 15 points. Brinkley added nine points for the Cavaliers, while Aubrie Brigg scored eight points.

Salisbury (26-3) will advance to the 2A girls basketball state championship next Saturday. The Hornets will face the winner of (5) Seaforth and (2) North Pitt, a game that is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday.

East Burke’s season ends with a 27-3 record.

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