West girls off to bad start in NPC
By Bret Strelow
MOUNT ULLA — Head coach Bob Blake had high hopes for West Rowan’s game against West Iredell.
Instead, the Falcons fell to 0-2 in league play for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
They led by one point with less than a minute remaining but lost 39-37 to the visiting Warriors on Thursday.
Statesville beat the Falcons (4-4) on Tuesday, and several players who graduated after last season’s run to the NPC tournament title practiced with the team Wednesday.
“We have higher expectations than this,” Blake said. “We thought that we’d come out playing more physical and shoot the ball better, just doing things right. We had a real good practice, and we were looking forward to tonight.
“We thought with a big crowd here it would be a nice way to go into Christmas break. We thought we were ready, but we weren’t.”
The last West team to start 0-2 in conference play finished 5-11 in the SPC and 5-18 overall.
West Iredell post players Shauna Redmon (11 points, 14 rebounds) and Katie Allegro (six points, 11 rebounds) controlled the boards, but Redmon fouled out with 2:21 left. Allegro picked up her fifth foul with 1:58 remaining and the Warriors leading 35-34.
Rachel Graham’s two free throws put the Falcons ahead, but the Warriors (8-2, 2-0) tied the game with 1:27 left.
West Rowan’s Rhonda Turner made a tiebreaking free throw with 44.3 seconds left, but West Iredell’s Amanda Stroud drilled a jumper from the free-throw line 17 seconds later.
Stroud was one of several West Iredell players who felt under the weather, and she was in only because Allegro had fouled out.
“I didn’t play her the whole second half because she was about to throw up at halftime,” coach Josh Weddington said. “When Katie fouled out, she said, ‘OK, I’m ready.’ We put her in there, she played a position she hasn’t played all year long and she hits the winning shot there for us.”
Graham fed the ball to Turner on the next trip, but she missed a contested look from the right block. The Warriors added a free throw with 13.5 seconds left, and the Falcons again went inside on their final possession. Turner wasn’t able to convert in the closing seconds, and Wendi Adams (10 boards) ran out of time after grabbing the rebound.
“We ran the plays we wanted to run; we just couldn’t get the basket,” Blake said. “We thought we’d either get a basket or some foul shots, and we got neither the last two times down the court.”
WEST IREDELL (39) — Redmon 11, Allison 9, Allegro 6, Stroud 6, Dagenhart 4, Laws 3, Melvin, Waugh.
WEST ROWAN (37) — Graham 9, Sawyer 9, Turner 7, Taylor 5, Adams 3, Cox 2, Foster 2, Stout, Kraft, Izze.
West Iredell 5 10 12 12 — 39
West Rowan 9 7 10 11 — 37
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.