Prep Basketball: East Rowan girls 57, South Rowan 43
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY ó Just another intense basketball game turned into a session of girls gone wild after South Rowan coach Jim Brooks was ejected in the second quarter.
Brooks’ sudden banishment sparked bewilderment in the bleachers and a furious South comeback, but East Rowan weathered it for a 57-43 NPC victory.
“Everybody was going crazy out there,” East’s Alaina Vanderford said. “Coach (Karen) Garmon told us, ‘Don’t say a word to anybody ó just play basketball.’ ”
East (5-3, 5-1) followed instructions and now has won 17 of its last 20 against South.
“We didn’t buckle,” Garmon said. “Some tough losses we had helped us keep our composure when we were under pressure.”
Senior Ashley Collins, who has killed South for four years, led the Mustangs with 16 points. Collins has scored 109 of her 950 career points against the Raiders.
Katelynne Poole had 11 points. Mackenzie Holshouser, who had seven points and two blocks in the fourth quarter, scored 10. Vanderford hit two 3s and scored eight, and the Mustangs needed her to score with Olivia Rankin in constant foul trouble.
Taylor May, who left the floor briefly after suffering a scratched eyelid late in the third quarter, returned looking like Rocky Balboa and had 15 points and 11 boards to pace South (5-3, 3-2). Molly Garrett and Kayla Morrow also had 11 rebounds each for the Raiders, who crushed East on the glass in the first and third quarters.
“That’s because of Jan Dowling, their volleyball coach,” Garmon said. “Those volleyball girls they have bust their tails in the weight room. They’re strong and they can get off the floor. They were outjumping us.”
May’s jumper with 2:44 left in the first quarter gave South an 11-10 lead, but two free throws by Collins triggered a 19-1 East run. A 3-pointer by reserve post player Olivia Sabo from the top of the key gave East a 22-12 lead, and as South tried to answer, Morrow was whistled for an offensive foul after contact with Poole. Brooks did or said something that got him a technical. A second technical and his exit from the loud, sweaty East gym followed immediately.
“Oh, my gosh, that was ridiculous,” Garrett said. “For the record, Brooks didn’t say anything and didn’t cuss. All he asked was what we’d done wrong.”
Collins hit four technical free throws, Vanderford nailed a 3-pointer, and the lead swelled to 29-12. East led 32-18 at halftime.
“We came out for the third quarter and played even harder,” Garrett said. “It was really emotional.”
South outrebounded East 18-7 in the third quarter, but it shot 4-for-20, including lots of missed layups. The Raiders got as close as six points twice in the third quarter, but East spread the floor, took time off the clock and extended its lead with accurate free-throw shooting.
“Our girls made a great comeback in an extreme situation,” South assistant Jarrod Smith said. “But when we got it back to six, they were able to run us around a little and we just ran out of gas.”
SOUTH ROWAN (43) ó May 15, K. Haywood 7, Graham 7, Garrett 7, Morrow 6, Goins 1, Sides.EAST ROWAN (57) ó Collins 16, Poole 11, Holshouser 10, Vanderford 8, Sabo 6, Rankin 4, File 2, Corpening. S. Rowan 11 7 12 13 ó 43
E. Rowan 16 16 10 15 ó 57
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