East Rowan girls 83, North Iredell 45
By David Shaw
GRANITE QUARRY ó Turn off the search lights and call back the hounds. East Rowan’s girls basketball team has found what it was looking for.
The host Mustangs played their most complete game of the season and were rewarded with an 83-46 NPC win over North Iredell on Friday night.
“Our intensity was there the entire four quarters,” East coach Karen Garmon said. “That’s something we’ve been missing. A lot of times when teams fight back at us, we lose our composure and don’t stick together. Then our intensity drops and our level of play drops.”
Not last night. It may be too soon to take East’s temperature, but the Mustangs (3-3, 3-1) are heating things up in conference play. They’re tied for third place with Lake Norman.
“The conference is the main thing,” senior Katelynne Poole said after scoring 24 points. “This is where we have to play our best.”
It took East about five minutes to thaw out against North (2-4, 1-3). Trailing 9-6, the Mustangs used a trap defense and the 1-2 scoring punch of Poole and sophomore center Olivia Rankin to outscore the guests 20-4 over the next 5:32, grabbing a commanding 26-13 lead. Rankin (16 points, 10 rebounds) made five layups in the first quarter while Poole provided the mojo with her rough-house penetrations and short-range set shots.
“(Rankin) killed us in the first half,” North Iredell coach Tami Ramsey said. “We ended up playing behind her instead of fronting her. A lot of times when she got the ball, she had teammates slicing to the basket ó and she’d feed it to them.”
Garmon said Rankin is evolving into a top-shelf post player.
“Olivia can do what she wants to do when she gets the ball,” Garmon said. “Once we get it lobbed in to her, she finishes 90 percent of the time. When she scores, the other kids get all excited about watching her go to work.”
East built a 44-27 halftime lead and extended it to 53-31 when Rankin snatched an offensive rebound and hit a putback midway through the third quarter. Poole’s last-second bucket ó off a pass from Ashley Collins (eight assists) made it 68-35 with eight minutes to play.”We all thought about what we had to do,” Rankin said. “We had a day off to relax. And we decided it’s up to us ó me and Katelynne ó to give the team a fire. Because when we’re down, it brings the whole team down.”
Much of the second half centered on defense and the turnover-producing trap the Mustangs employed. North managed only three field goals in the third quarter and five in the fourth.
“They had that good little trap going on,” Ramsey said. “And on offense they moved the ball well and seemed to be clicking that way.”
When it was over, Garmon and the Mustangs chose to view the game as another challenge met on the way to February.
“Tonight they took a lot of those things we’ve been struggling with, put them together and fixed them,” Garmon said. “Hopefully we can use this as momentum and keep playing on this level.”
NORTH IREDELL (46) ó Johnson 16, M.Singletery 12, Harkey 6, Haynes 4, Swicegood 4, E.Singletery 4.
EAST ROWAN (83) ó Poole 24, Rankin 16, File 11, Holshouser 9, Collins 9, Sabo 4, Corpening 4, Honeycutt 4, Drew 2, Vanderford.
N. Iredell 11 16 7 12 ó 46
E. Rowan 17 27 24 15 ó 83