Prep Basketball: West Rowan girls 55, Mooresville 15

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

By Bill Kiser

Salisbury Post

MOORESVILLE — The scoreboard went dead just before the start of the second half of Friday night’s girls game between West Rowan and Mooresville.

The problem was traced to a loose electrical connection, but it could’ve easily have been from embarrassment for the Blue Devils over the halftime score.

The Falcons raced out to a 27-2 margin at the break and never looked back, eventually pounding Mooresville 55-15 for their second straight North Piedmont Conference win.

Rachel Graham scored a game-high 14 points for West Rowan (10-6, 4-3), which had 10 of its 11 players rack up points in putting together its biggest margin of victory this season.

The Falcons’ previous season high margin was 37 points, which also came against struggling Mooresville (2-15, 1-6) 11 days earlier.

Still, the final outcome even took West Rowan head coach Bob Blake by surprise.

“I really felt confident that we’d win, and I didn’t think we’d have a lot of trouble,” Blake said. “But I didn’t think we’d win like that.

“I thought we’d slowly build a lead on them, then cruise a little bit at the end. Then we go out and hold them to two points. That had to be frustrating for them.”

A big reason for that was the Falcons’ defense, which forced the Blue Devils into a season-worst 41 turnovers, 30 coming off steals. West Rowan took advantage, with more than half of its total points (28) coming off a steal or after a turnover.

Couple that with another poor shooting night by Mooresville — just 15 percent from the field — and Friday’s game was virtually decided by halftime.

“We swarmed them defensively,” Blake said. “We didn’t give them second shots, and we made them turn the ball over. We caused most of those turnovers because we got after them defensively.”

The closest the Blue Devils came to making a game of it was in the first four minutes of the first half, when Alexa Martin — who finished with eight points for Mooresville — hit a short jumper to cut the Falcons’ lead to 4-2.

But the Blue Devils would not score again for more than 12 minutes — they went 0-for-13 from the field the remainder of the half — and West Rowan rolled away to a 16-2 lead after the first quarter and a 25-point margin at the half.

Blake went to his bench liberally in the second half and even came off the man-to-man and full-court press defenses to play a zone, but the Falcons continued to pull away.

They went ahead by 30 points for the first time on Erin Foster’s 3-pointer with 3:19 left in the third quarter and led by as much as 42 points midway through the fourth quarter after two Mila Simmons free throws put West ahead 53-11 with 4:53 remaining.

“I wish we could play that way every night,” said Blake, whose Falcons are now tied for third in the NPC. “They came off the bus with a lot of confidence, and they played that way the whole game. If we can keep that defensive tenacity and play that way against everybody, we’ll finish up the season pretty strong.”

west rowan (55) — Graham 14, Foster 9, Cox 7, Taylor 6, Izze 4, Simmons 4, Adams 4, Sawyer 3, Kraft 2, Turner 2, Stout.

Mooresville (15) — Martin 8, Butler 3, Turner 2, Sullivan 1, Everhart 1, Harris, Powell, Delaughter, Howard, Drawdy, Sturdivant.

W. Rowan 16 11 18 10 — 55

Mooresville 2 0 9 4 — 15

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Contact Bill Kiser at sports@salisburypost.com.

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