Moir Christmas Classic: East Rowan girls 83, North 39
By Bret Strelow
The “Jungle Drill” has enabled East Rowan’s girls to improve their fastbreak efficiency in three-on-two situations despite the disruptive presence of Mackenzie Holshouser, who showed off her defensive skills again Saturday.
Holshouser had 10 points and seven steals ó all in the first half ó to help push third-seeded East to an 83-39 victory against sixth-seeded North Rowan in a Sam Moir Christmas Classic opener at Catawba.
Holshouser was one of three starters who went to the bench for good with East leading 54-21 midway through the third quarter.
“She’s the best defender on the team,” East senior Katelynne Poole said. “She’s sneaky.
“When we play ‘Jungle Drill’ you’ll be sitting there waiting for a pass, and she’ll come out of nowhere to steal the ball. She’s really fast and can read where the passes are going.”
Quon Cuthbertson had 26 points and 18 rebounds to pace North, which will face Carson in a consolation game Monday afternoon. The Mustangs (6-3) advanced to a semifinal matchup with second-seeded South Rowan.
Poole went 10-for-14 from the field and scored 21 points in East’s opening-round win. She also dished out six of the Mustangs’ 23 assists. Fellow senior Ashley Collins had 11 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
Poole’s point production equaled North’s when East coach Karen Garmon inserted five subs with 3:50 left in the third quarter. The Mustangs finished with 20 steals, and they scored 31 points off North’s 31 turnovers.
“We were giving them traps, and they were showing their passes,” Holshouser said. “There were good chances for steals.”
North (1-7) committed nine turnovers in East’s 15-4 run to open the game, and the Cavaliers trailed 38-13 with 2:30 remaining in the half.
The Mustangs had 15 steals at that point, and North’s 21 turnovers had translated directly into 22 points for the opposition.
“It’s just us not being patient with the ball, throwing the ball away,” North coach Tony Hillian said. “We were not taking our time on offense like we’ve practiced all year long. They moved the ball well on offense, and we didn’t play good defense at all. Not until late in the fourth quarter.”
Garmon, who prefers to see her team’s offense operate in the halfcourt, credited assistant coach Danielle Porter with the Mustangs’ progress in transition.
The up-and-down flow allowed perimeter-oriented East to score 54 points in the paint while attempting only eight 3-pointers.
“I’m more of a set-it-up, throw-it-down coach,” Garmon said. “(Porter) adds the perspective of, ‘Let’s push the ball, let’s fill the lanes.’ It’s something new we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get out and push the ball because our kids can finish.”
NORTH ROWAN (39) ó Q.Cuthbertson 26, Torrence 4, Gregory 2, Brown 2, Ellis 2, Bush 2, Bethea 1, T.Cuthbertson, Miller, Rhinehardt, Fortson.
EAST ROWAN (83) ó Poole 21, Collins 11, Holshouser 10, Rankin 10, Sabo 7, Drew 6, Honeycutt 6, File 6, Corpening 4, Vanderford 2, Means.
N. Rowan 7 10 11 11 ó 39
E. Rowan 17 25 19 22 ó 83