EAST BEND — Jim Jackson, Salem College’s women’s basketball coach the past four years, has made targeting northwestern North Carolina one of his main recruiting strategies.
Jackson signed another player from the area when Forbush senior Racheal Salmons inked a letter of intent to play for the Spirits in 2009-10. Salmons, a 5-foot-11 center, was first-team all-conference for the Falcons this past winter.
She’ll join other Tri-County hoops standouts like Kelsey Rector (Elkin), Sarah Smith (North Wilkes) and Ashley Wilcox (East Wilkes) as recent Salem signees.
“I didn’t want to go anywhere far off and I wanted to play basketball because I’m not ready to give that up yet,” Salmons said. “I had a few choices but I really wanted to go to Salem because I went there for a visit and really fell in love with it. I liked the environment and the coach was really nice.”
Salmons will add depth to Salem’s post rotation. The Spirits only featured a handful of forward/center types on their roster in 2008-09.
Salmons was one of the Falcons’ top scorers this past winter. She enjoyed a 30-point night against Wilkes Central in January and scored 20 points in a win over West Caldwell early in the season. She often was among the top rebounders as well.
“I’ve told everybody that Racheal has some of the best hands I’ve ever coached,” Forbush coach Ashley Clonch said. “We’re not a great passing team into the post, but she can pick up any ball that was thrown to her.
“She has really come a long way from last season, and I’m so glad she’s going to keep pursuing basketball. Racheal is really determined. She’s only going to get better.”
Salmons has been playing basketball since second grade. She has been part of Forbush’s program all four years at the school, emerging as a regular varsity contributor as a junior.
She plans to study history in college and has thought a lot about teaching history and possibly coaching basketball after college.