South’s Locklear crosses 1,000-point barrier
LANDIS — Personal milestones in basketball are a thrill but sometimes they can be a distraction in the process.
In the end it all turned out perfect for junior guard Avery Locklear and her South Rowan Raider team Friday night.
Locklear surpassed 1000 career points in the game and the Raiders (3-0, 5-1) bounced back from their only loss with a 63-41 win over visiting Cox Mill.
“It is really exciting,” Locklear said of her scoring achievement. “It is something every player wants to get before they graduate so I am glad to get it this year.”
She may well be on her way to becoming the all-time leading girl’s scorer for the Raiders as she now has 1,002. A total of nine Soiuth girls have surpassed 1000 points with Jill Cress at 1529 leading the pack. Tracey Connor is right behind at 1465.
Cassidy Chipman was the game hero for South, despite the spotlight on Locklear. The junior forward rained in four threes and notched 24 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Locklear was right behind with 19 and eight rebounds while post Lynsey Corriher, the team’s only senior, had 11 points.
The Chargers (0-4,0-8) are in the basement of the South Piedmont conference but in the first half they acted like they weren’t impressed with all the hoopla, even though they fell behind 13-0 right out of the gate.
A pair of three’s by Chipman and one by Locklear got South off to the quick start but they went the last 5:20 of the first quarter without a point. Charger guard Imani Payne and forward Kourtney Elmore sparked the rally with some long jumpers and a number of transition baskets.
A long banked-in three by Madison Lewis with 29 seconds left in the half tied the score at 24-24. At the same time Locklear had just five points and was saddled with three fouls.
“We got that big lead then we got comfortable and relaxed,” Raider coach Jarod Smith said. “But you can’t relax in any of these league games.”
But he noted the team’s maturity this year enabled them to respond in the second half without a whole lot of prompting from him. “I told them they knew what they were doing wrong so just go fix it.”
In impressive fashion the Raiders came out in the second half with a 21-5 run as Locklear hit a trio of long bombs and a driving lay-up. Corriher and Beth Ann Martin added key baskets in the spurt to give the Raiders a 45-29 lead and they never looked back.
The final three by Locklear gave her 999 career points, then she picked up her fourth foul and the drama intensified as the third quarter was wrapping up.
But Locklear was fouled with 14 seconds left in the third and went to the line for a pair. She missed the first free throw but calmly sank the second to hit the career mark. The game was halted briefly to present her a game ball.
“It was great but it is definitely better to get back on a winning track too,” Locklear said. “ Being 3-0 in the conference is really big. That’s something I haven’t felt since I’ve been here.”
COX MILL (41) — Payne 9, Elmore 9, Lewis 8, Davis 4, Sehm-Crowley 4, Montgomery 2, McLamb 2, N’Dala 2, Rinkus, Comer.
SOUTH ROWAN (63) — Chipman 24, Locklear 19, Corriher 11, Martin 5, Stamey 3, Waters 1, Bost, Figueroa, McClendon, Smith
Cox Mill 9 15 10 7 — 41
S. Rowan 13 11 24 15 — 63