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Prep Basketball: North Davidson girls 57, East Rowan 32

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

WELCOME — If someone had made the offer, East Rowan girls coach Karen Garmon would have traded in her clipboard for a blindfold by the end of the third quarter.

It was just one of those nights for the Mustangs, who are better than they looked in Tuesday’s lethargic 57-32 CPC loss at North Davidson. East (5-8, 1-1), which looked sharp while winning twice and losing in overtime in the recent Christmas tournament, played most of the game in a fog.

The Mustangs turned the ball over 34 times and would have reached 40 had energetic North Davidson not backed off its press the last six minutes.

“A nightmare,” Garmon said. “I wouldn’t have dreamed we would play like that in a million years. But we didn’t have our focus at practice on Monday, and you’ll usually play like you practice.

“That about sums it up.”

The strangest thing about the full-moon night was that East still had a reasonable chance to win the game at halftime, when it trailed 28-22.

But then the Mustangs got flattened 16-4 in the third quarter by the Knights (8-6, 3-1), and it was time to start the bus.

“We had a little lull in the second quarter,” North Davidson coach Kim Payne said. “But we played really well together in the third quarter and played some of the best defense we’ve played. Forcing turnovers is our gameplan.”

The game couldn’t have started much better for East. Kelsey Stout swished a long shot from the left corner and Ashley Collins hit a 3-pointer, and the Mustangs led 5-0 after their first two possessions.

But East missed 15 of its next 16 field-goal attempts. Then the turnovers, most of them forced by 5-foot-3 waterbug twins Ashlei and Courtnei Clodfelter, started piling up.

When East did handle the press, North’s Bethany Anderson enthusiastically smacked layup attempts off the wall of Pete Jones Gymnasium.

The Black Knights led 17-8 after a quarter, but East put together a solid second quarter and used 3-pointers from Collins, Lauren Cress and Katelynne Poole to creep within six points at halftime.

East didn’t score in the second half until Cress scored inside with 3:45 left in the third quarter. By then, the deficit was in double digits.

East made 12 turnovers in the third quarter, and North Davidson closed the quarter on a 9-0 run on two 3-pointers by reserve freshman guard Katie Allen and a three-point play two seconds before the buzzer by Anderson. Anderson’s off-balance basket was the last straw for the Mustangs.

“We had brain lapses and couldn’t remember to run even our elementary press-break,” Garmon said. “I went up and down my bench looking for firecrackers, but I didn’t find what I was looking for until we put in that very last group.

“Maybe we’ve gotten too comfortable. If there’s a bright spot, it’s that this game showed us we have to work harder.”

EAST ROWAN (32) — Collins 8, Cress 6, Miller 4, Poole 4, Smith 4, Barrier 4, K. Stout 2, Cooper, S. Stout, Vanderford, Hill, Everhardt.

N. DAVIDSON (57) — C. Clodfelter 12, Anderson 10, A. Clodfelter 7, Day 7, Gilley 7, Allen 6, Welch 3, Poole 2, Amos 2, Howard 1, Cook.

E. Rowan 8 14 4 6 — 32

N. Davidson 17 11 16 13 — 57

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

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