Prep Basketball: Lake Norman girls 70, West Rowan 59

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 2, 2007

By David Shaw

Salisbury Post

MOORESVILLE — West Rowan’s girls basketball team spent Friday night jockeying for position in the upcoming NPC tournament.

Halfway through their 70-59 loss at Lake Norman, the Falcons owned a one-point lead and a shot at improving their fifth-place predicament in the conference standings.

“We had a chance. A good chance,” coach Bob Blake said after West (11-11, 5-7) suffered its fifth loss in six games. “But they had a run in the third quarter, and that was the difference. It’s been the story of our season — one bad quarter every night. It’s always the same way.”

Perhaps this Groundhog Day setback was fitting. West scored only two baskets in the third quarter — both by senior Rhonda Turner. And the run Blake referred to was simply a 6-0 spurt that gave the second-place Wildcats (17-5, 10-2) a 39-36 lead. But the Falcons, presented with an obstacle, never recovered.

“It’s disappointing because we know we have enough potential to beat them,” junior Brooke Taylor said. “We just can’t seem to make it happen.”

Lake Norman, which routed the Falcons by 30 when the teams squared off Jan. 8 in Mount Ulla, placed four scorers in double figures. Sophomore Peyton Sawyer and Taylor paced West with 17 points apiece.

“We had to switch our defense to adjust to No. 14 (Sawyer),” winning coach Dave Walla said. “She had a fabulous night. We had to get some defensive help on her.”

Sawyer, a slippery guard with a nose for the basket, was able to find seams and penetrate the lane in the first half, when she scored 13 points.

“Then in the second half they dropped two people back so I couldn’t get in the lane,” Sawyer said after scoring a career-high. “That made it tough.”

Just like the road ahead.

“We’ve lost some games we shouldn’t have this year,” Blake said. “It would be nice to win some we shouldn’t have won. Like this one.”

west rowan (59) — Sawyer 17, Taylor 17, Graham 9, Turner 8, Adams 7, Simmons 1, Izze, Foster, Stout, Kraft, Cox.

lake norman (70) — Marshall 20, Haynes 15, Mannion 14, Abernathy 13, Moffett 6, Shalvey 2.

W. Rowan 17 17 5 20 — 59

L. Norman 14 19 10 27 — 70