GRANITE QUARRY — When East Rowan's Karleigh Wike smacked away another A.L. Brown shot with 2:08 remaining, it gave her a triple-double.
That's exactly what the 6-foot-4 junior was looking for on Wednesday at the East gym.
“I've had a triple-double a few times before, but it's always a good feeling,” Wike said. “It's what I aim for every game.”
Wike finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks as the Mustangs (2-2) blasted the Wonders 61-36.
Wike had 12 points and 12 rebounds as East took a 26-15 halftime lead, but when she sat down most of the fourth quarter it looked like double-digit blocks would elude her. But coach Danielle Porter sent her back in with four minutes left, and the block party resumed.
“I didn't know exactly where she stood as far as the triple-double, but I knew she was close,” Porter said. “I thought Karleigh gave one of the greatest defensive performances I've ever seen. Here awareness tonight was just unreal.”
The trick for Wike is to reject shots and alter shots while avoiding foul trouble. She accomplished that last night. Her teammates played man-to-man and funneled drivers to her, and Wike had a field day swatting away layup attempts.
“Every game before tonight I've gotten four fouls,” Wike said. “It was nice not to be in foul trouble.”
East was on target, especially Sydney Poole, who scored 16 points while taking only a handful of shots. Poole drilled three 3-pointers and also knocked down five free throws.
Caroline Fry made two 3-pointers late in the third quarter to blow the game open, and Jocelyn Lowe made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
Still, Porter wanted to talk about defense — and with good reason. Even with Wike blocking shots, the Mustangs allowed 57 points per game last season, one of the highest totals in school history.
On Wednesday, however, the Mustangs limited the Wonders (1-3) to single-digit scoring in three different quarters.
“We saw that they hit a bunch of 3-pointers against South Rowan, so we didn't want to just sit back,” Porter said. “They set tough screens, but we fought through them and got around them and got a hand in the face of their shooters.”
Aitana Grant scored nine points to pace the Wonders. Raven Phifer scored eight, and Megan Shue had seven.
“We haven't played a lot of man-to-man in the past, but we did very well with it tonight,” Wike said. “Everyone was talking and communicating.
A.L. BROWN (36) —Grant 9, Phifer 8, Shue 7, Raper 4, Kituku 3, Vernon 2, Rodgers 2, Grier 1, Moody, Lipscomb, Alexander, Downs.
EAST ROWAN (61) — Wike 17, Poole 16, Fisher 7, Fry 6, Ajayi 4, Gullett 4, Lowe 3, Thomas 2, Gobble 2, Sides.
A.L. Brown 9 6 14 7 — 36
E. Rowan 8 18 23 12 — 61