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Prep Hoops: North Rowan girls 60, West Rowan 52

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

SPENCER — With 15 seconds left and the gym nearing capacity, North Rowan girls coach Mike White strolled to the scorers table and seized a microphone.

Fans briefly feared the big man might perform a song-and-dance routine, but he instead sang the praises of North senior Shemieka Brown and presented her with a ball commemorating her 1,000 career points.

Brown actually reached the milestone more than a week ago at A.L. Brown, but the Cavaliers have been on a road trip worthy of a WNBA squad.

Brown, who dashed into the bleachers to dish the ball to family members, added 19 points to her total on Friday and now has 1,084 for her career.

North needed every point Brown could provide in a fast and furious 60-52 revenge win over West Rowan. West (3-2) beat North 53-36 in Mount Ulla.

Brown didn’t have a good shooting night — 5-for-22 — but she scored 10 clutch points in the fourth quarter.

“She missed some shots, but we were still able to pick up the pieces,” White said. “Shemieka gives us more than points. We needed her for her defense, her rebounding, her leadership and to make the passes.”

North (5-1) also got strong performances from Sierra Ingram (11 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks), fast-improving Daquondra Cuthbertson (10 points, 12 rebounds) and JaQuanta Wilks (11 points).

It looked as if ambidextrous Brooke Taylor might score 1,000 in one night for West, but she settled for 23.

“West’s guards are tough,” White said. “They can shoot the 3, and if you go out on them, they drive real well.”

West coach Bob Blake figured he was in trouble on the bus ride to Spencer. West had played rival East Rowan 24 hours earlier, and the Falcons weren’t crisp and eager.

“The girls are usually clowning around on the bus, but this time there wasn’t a sound,” Blake said. “They weren’t physically tired — they’re teenagers and should be able to play every night — but they were mentally tired, just mentally exhausted.”

The Falcon players felt it too.

“Warming up, I could tell our flow was messed up,” said Rhonda Turner, who had 12 points. “Then when the game started, it really showed.”

When Blake used his first timeout, West was 1-for-6 from the field, had turned the ball over five times and trailed 8-2. The Falcons, who were down 28-21 at the half, never escaped that hole.

North Rowan maintained its edge in the third quarter, using a 17-9 edge on the glass to compensate for 5-for-20 field-goal shooting.

“All our big girls were playing to the best of their ability,” Brown said. “They were just getting so many and-ones. I was proud.”

West crept within 52-48 with 1:53 left on an amazing left-handed runner by Taylor, but Cuthbertson hit a free throw and Wilks banged in a flying bank shot to keep the Cavs in command.

“The shot Wilks hit, I was hollering, ‘No, no, no,’ but she was go, go, go,” White said. “It was, ‘Oh, my God,’ but she made it. She was playing with a lot of confidence.”

west ROWAN (52) — Taylor 23, R. Turner 12, Adams 5, Foster 4, Graham 4, Izze 2, Cox 2, Simmons, Stout, Kraft.

north rowan (60) — Brown 19, Ingram 11, Wilks 11, Cuthbertson 10, Casey 9, Holshouser, Parker, C. Turner, Rice, Bethea.

W. Rowan 7 14 13 18 — 52

N. Rowan 12 16 14 18 — 60

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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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