North girls top West
MT. ULLA — North Rowan’s Brielle Blaire, Nycieko Dixon, Special Washington and Demeria Robinson averaged a combined 67 points per game last season while playing for three different Rowan teams.
That’s an awful lot of collective firepower for a girls squad, but skeptics have pointed out there’s only one ball and there may not be enough shots to go around.
But so far, so good. North won 71-44 at West Rowan on Wednesday, breaking 70 for the second time in two nights and breaking a 13-game losing streak against the Falcons. North hadn’t won against West since the 2006-07 season.
“We did a good job of playing team ball and the girls gave me good effort,” North coach Brian Lytton said. “There are some things we need to tweak, but as long as we’ve got team ball and effort, I can’t ask for a lot more.”
North (2-0) shot only 6-for-22 in the first quarter, but it got enough easy baskets off turnovers that it shot better than 40 percent in each of the last three quarter. West turned the ball over 31 times, including 22 miscues in the first half.
“We’ve got a lot of speed and we really wanted to push the ball,” Robinson said. “I don’t think we had any selfishness tonight. Everybody played well together, and we made some good plays.”
Robinson made a lot of them. A junior with almost 600 points to her credit at North, she hit three 3-pointers and scored 19 points to lead the Cavaliers.
Blaire, a senior headed for 2,000 career points, scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, grabbed 12 rebounds and did most of her damage on the offensive glass.
Dixon, a senior who surpassed 1,000 points with a 24-point outing against Mooresville on Tuesday, had nine of her 11 points against West, her former club, in the decisive second quarter.
“We’ve added size and we’ve added scoring, but we’re still playing a lot of the same pressing style that was good to us last year,” Lytton said. “West made some very nice plays and burned us a few times, but we also were able to get some turnovers.”
The biggest difference now is that when a Cavalier misses a shot, there’s a pretty good chance that Blaire, who has signed with Virginia Tech, will stick it back in.
North jumped out 7-0 and 11-2 on the Falcons (1-3), but West came back. Taylor Martin hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter to pull the Falcons within 13-11.
But North’s defense was overwhelming in the second quarter. West turned it over 11 times in the period and missed 10 of 11 field-goal attempts, and by halftime, the Cavaliers were in complete control at 30-13.
After Shanice Miller hit a mid-range shot for the Falcons with 4:43 left in the half, North closed the half with 11 unanswered points, including back-to-back layups by Dixon.
“We played good for a quarter,” West coach Ashley Poole said. “After that, we didn’t play well enough together. We’ve got to change our mindset a little bit, but it’s early, we’re working and we’ll get better.”
Robinson started the second half with one of her 3-pointers to push North’s lead to 20 for the first time.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well early, but the more we got into the game, the better we moved the ball, and the better shots we got,” Robinson said.
NOTES: Aliyah Farmer had eight rebounds for North and blocked several shots. ... Martin made three 3-pointers and scored 13 to lead West. ... North had West’s top returning scorer Khaila Hall to six points. “The gameplan was to force her left,” Robinson said.
NORTH ROWAN (71) — Robinson 19, B. Blaire 14, Dixon 11, Washington 7, Farmer 6, Allen 4, A. Blaire 4, Liles 2, Cannon 2, Lingle 2, Royer.
WEST ROWAN (44) — Martin 13, Cowan 8, S. Miller 7, Hall 6, Q. Miller 5, Alessandrini 3, Goddard 2, Yow, Greene, Lovell .
N. Rowan 13 17 17 24 — 71
W. Rowan 11 2 18 13 — 44