West girls ride Avery to win, 75-48
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA ó North Rowan’s Quon Cuthbertson reached over the back of West Rowan’s Desere Cross in a scrap for a first-half rebound.
A whistle blew, and that whistle helped West blow out the visiting Cavaliers 75-46.
The foul was the third on Cuthbertson, who jogged to the bench with North trailing 28-22 and 3:33 remaining in the first half. By halftime, the Cavaliers (1-4) were down by 15 points and West was headed to an easy non-conference victory.Cuthbertson, a post player with strong spin moves, scored a career-high 29 points, two more than she posted against the Falcons in Mount Ulla.
West guard Ayana Avery countered with 29 of her own. She got help from Mila Simmons, who scored a career-best 13, and Ashley Dutton, who had a career-high 10.Avery, a sophomore, struggled when the Falcons lost 66-50 to North Iredell on Tuesday. She was back to floating like a butterfly against the Cavaliers. She hit five 3s.
“Ayana only got 10 points against North Iredell, and eight were after it didn’t matter,” West coach Erich Epps said. “But she was back in her groove tonight.”
Coming off the loss, Epps was worried.
“I was tense because I believe North is a team we should beat,” he said. “But early on, North looked good, and we weren’t looking good at all.”
Cuthbertson scored nine early points as the Cavaliers took a 15-11 lead. But layups by Allison Parker and Dutton got West even, and Avery’s old-fashioned three-point play put the Falcons ahead at the end of the quarter.
Things came apart for North in the second quarter. Assistant coach Mike White was tossed after picking up two technical fouls, and Avery went to the line for a series of free throws.
Cuthbertson sat down three minutes after White exited, and the Cavs never found alternative ways to score.
“We just didn’t execute our offense,” North coach Tony Hillian said. “Momentum changed, and our spirits got down a little bit. And you have to give West Rowan credit. They attacked the basket well, and Miss Avery can shoot it. She can shoot it deep.”
West held North to six points in the third quarter to blow it open, and Avery drilled back-to-back 3s to push West’s lead from 12 points to 18.
“Coach said I needed to keep shooting, that it was the only way my shot would come back,” Avery said. “When we were on defense, Quon was still strong, but we were able to pressure their guards so they couldn’t get it to her.”
Eleven Falcons scored. Olivia Watkins and Alicia Turner got their first varsity points.
“We’ve basically only got two girls who have played a lot, and our jayvees were 3-17, so I’m going to appreciate every victory we get,” Epps said. “We fouled too much, but the girls really got after it .”
NORTH (46) ó Q. Cuthbertson 29, Roberts 5, T. Cuthbertson 3, Gregory 3, Brown 2, Bethea 2, Torrence 2, Rhinehart, C. Turner.
WEST (75) ó Avery 29, Simmons 13, Dutton 10, Cross 7, Holloway 4, Parker 4, Moose 2, Gillespie 2, A. Turner 2, Calloway 1, Watkins 1, Watson, Baucom.
N. Rowan 15 10 6 15 ó 46
W. Rowan 18 22 15 20 ó 75