Mitchell sets school-record as Salem trounces Heritage

CONYERS — Prior to the girls basketball game Monday between Salem and Heritage, the public address system wasn’t working and the national anthem was unable to be played.

Everything else was working just fine for Salem.

Ayanna Mitchell scored a school-record 46 points, Shay Tarver added 21 points and the Seminoles used three big runs to handle its rival 112-30 in Region 8-AAAAA play.

Mitchell, an unsigned junior, broke the old record of 41 points set by Courtney Hurt in a January 2008 game against Cedar Shoals.

Salem started to build its gigantic lead thanks to a remarkably quick run in the opening quarter. The hosts led just 10-6 midway through the first, but scored 14 points in 52 seconds to take command. Tarver hit two of her three first-half 3-pointers and the Seminoles had three steals that led to baskets to go up 24-6 with 3:18 left.

It was pushed to an 18-0 run and a 28-6 cushion after Tarver knocked down two free throws and converted a layup.

The Seminoles were just getting started.

Damali Thomas hit two 3-pointers for Heritage at the start of the second quarter to pull make it a 37-17 game. Salem followed with a 20-0 spurt — Mitchell had 14 points during the three-minute 46-second stretch — and led 57-17 with 2:23 until halftime.

Mitchell finished the first half with 32 points, many of them easy layups off of one of Salem’s 24 steals, and 10 rebounds, while Tarver finished the opening half with 19 points as Salem went into the locker room up 71-21.

Thomas had 13 of Heritage’s 21 first-half points and finished with a team-high 18.

While Heritage went nearly six minutes without a point, Salem started the second half by scoring the first 14 points, part of a 22-0 spurt that made it an 85-21 game with 3:21 to play in the third.

Mitchell set a new career high of 34 points with a layup early in the third, then added 12 points to her total over the next 10 minutes.

Taylor King added 17 points for Salem, which had its largest margin of victory since a 66-point victory over Monticello in the first game of Hurt’s freshman season, Nov. 15, 2005.