Titans maintain hex
By Mike London
CLEMMONS — South Rowan’s 6-foot-3 Katie Wise doesn’t have to look up at opponents often, but West Forsyth’s Elizabeth Maas has a couple of inches on her.
Which tall girl fouled out was going to have a lot to do with who won Tuesday’s CPC game at Simpson Gym, and it was a devastating blow to the Raiders (6-9, 1-3) when Wise exited with her fifth foul with her team clinging to a tiny lead.
The Titans (9-7, 3-2) rode Maas in the fourth quarter and beat the Raiders 45-43 in a tense struggle that stayed tight after South erased an early 8-0 deficit.
“Just win, baby, just so long as we win,” announced West coach Keith Pinnix, whose team also survived a thriller against East Rowan on Friday. “They gave us all we wanted, no doubt about that, but what I learned about this league last year is there are no nights off. Everybody plays tough. South’s kids have pride; our kids have pride.”
Maas finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
Taylor May drilled 12-foot jump shots for 14 points and collected 12 rebounds to lead the Raiders.
South actually out-shot and out-boarded the Titans but was wrecked by 22 turnovers — including a cluster down the stretch — and the disparity at the foul line.
West shot 15-for-30 from the stripe. The Raiders were 5-for-8.
South’s tall trio of Wise, May and Katherine Van Wieren tried to get Maas in foul trouble but combined to shoot just two free throws. Maas successfully dodged foul woes after picking up two personals in the first five minutes.
Maas pushed the Titans out to that quick 8-0 lead, but when her teammates forgot about her for a little while, South charged back.
The Raiders led 21-19 at halftime after May knocked down her last three shots.
South lost momentum in the third quarter when Van Wieren got her third and fourth fouls in a matter of seconds, and Wise picked up her fourth foul with a minute left in the quarter. South led 33-32 when Wise exited with 4:32 left to play when she tried to swat a wild runner in the lane.
“Losing Katie there really hurt,” South coach Jim Brooks said. “When she put her arms up, it was hard for even the 6-5 girl to shoot over her.”
Kim Wilson’s 3-pointer gave South a 36-32 lead, and the Raiders were up four with the ball with 3:30 left but couldn’t close things out.
A bucket by Maas and a killer, excuse-me banker by Morgan Smith tied the game and triggered nine straight points by the Titans.
Down 41-36, South tied the game on another 3 by Wilson and a layup off a West turnover by Krista Haywood with 59 seconds left.
Allyson Lunsford’s clutch free throws with 53 seconds left put the Titans in front to stay, and the Raiders just kept turning it over when they had chances to score.
South’s Kristen Brown hit two free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining to make it 45-43, but the Titans successfully lobbed the ball inbounds to Maas to end the game.
The Titans continue to be a jinx team for South. They’ve beaten the Raiders nine straight times, the last five by single digits.
“We did a lot of things right, and this definitely would have been our best win of the year,” Brooks said. “But we just had too many bad turnovers in the most inopportune situations.”
south rowan (43) — May 14, Wilson 10, Wise 8, Van Wieren 6, Haywood 3, Brown 2, Garrett 2, Houston, Morton.
west forsyth (45) — Maas 19, Smith 12, Lundsford 6, Ricks 4, Henderson 2, Bolar 2, Foster, Miller, Urban.
S. Rowan 9 12 6 16 — 43
W. Forsyth 11 8 9 17 — 45
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.