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Prep Basketball: East Rowan girls 49, South Rowan 44

By Bret Strelow

Salisbury Post

GRANITE QUARRY — The ending to East Rowan’s win pleased coach Karen Garmon so much that she wanted to see it again.

Stellar defense in the closing minutes allowed East’s girls to hang on for a 49-44 victory against South Rowan on Friday.

“I told (the girls) I was going home to watch our tape and watch our defense again,” Garmon said. “It was beautiful. We ran it to perfection.”

Katelynne Poole scored 16 points and Ashley Collins contributed 12 to help East (6-11, 2-3 CPC) break a four-game losing streak. Rebecca Cooper’s two free throws with 8.1 seconds left clinched the win.

Katherine Van Wieren led South (6-10, 1-4 CPC) with 14 points, and Kim Wilson scored all 13 of her points in the second half.

Wilson hit a 3-pointer with 2:31 left to pull South within 44-42. The Raiders missed two shots on their next possession that could have tied the game, and the trip concluded with an errant

3-pointer.

East’s Lauren Cress blocked one shot during that sequence and forced a jump ball on another block with 1:09 left. The arrow favored the Mustangs, and Poole made a transition layup nine seconds later.

South cut its deficit back to two on a basket by Van Wieren, and the Raiders regained possession on a tie-up after a missed free throw. Cress deflected a post feed out of bounds with 17.1 seconds left and forced a possession-changing jump ball on an inbounds pass underneath the basket.

“Her defense has gotten so much better,” Garmon said of Cress, who also grabbed six rebounds. “When she first came in from volleyball, she wanted to come in and swat shots. Now she’s really standing strong and going straight up.”

South made a steal in front of its own bench but turned the ball over seconds later. The Raiders fouled Poole after her steal, and she made the first free-throw attempt for a 47-44 lead with 9.9 seconds left.

Poole missed the second try, but the 5-foot-6 Cooper corralled the rebound at the right block and drew another foul. A pair of game-sealing free throws capped her 11-point outing.

“Rebecca is the strongest girl on the team even though she may not look like it,” Garmon said. “She can box out anybody. She can box out the biggest girls.”

Van Wieren, Taylor May (11 boards) and Katie Wise combined for 25 rebounds, but East held the final two in that trio to a combined eight points.

Van Wieren scored 10 first-quarter points to help South claim an 18-12 lead, but East outscored the Raiders 12-4 in the second period. Wilson made four layups against the Mustangs’ press in the third quarter to cut East’s lead to one point entering the fourth.

Collins opened the fourth quarter with her fourth 3-pointer of the game, and the Mustangs established a six-point lead before South rallied.

“This game was winnable,” South coach Jim Brooks said. “We need to protect the ball better and use our size more. Sometimes we forget we have tall girls.”

SOUTH ROWAN (44) — Van Wieren 14, Wilson 13, May 6, Brown 6, Haywood 3, Wise 2, Morton, Houston, Garrett.

EAST ROWAN (49) — Poole 16, Collins 12, Cooper 11, K.Stout 4, Miller 2, Hill 2, Cress 2, Vanderford.

South 18 4 13 9 — 44

East 12 12 12 13 — 49

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Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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