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Prep notebook: South, East girls meet again

From staff reports
Moir notebook …The Sam Moir Christmas Classic girls semifinals will feature a rematch between NPC rivals who played a heated game just 10 days ago.
South Rowan coach Jim Brooks was ejected in the second quarter of a 57-43 loss to East Rowan in Granite Quarry.
South (7-3) will face East (6-3) today at 3 p.m.
“It’s going to be interesting,” South senior Taylor May said. “We know a lot of what we did wrong last time. There was a lot of drama last game, and I think this time we’ll be ready to come out a lot harder and a lot more knowledgeable.”
May suffered a scratched eyelid in the first meeting, which included an early 19-1 run by the Mustangs.
East coach Karen Garmon said she expects Round 2 to be a physical and close contest.
“It’s going to be that way every single time we play,” Garmon said. “Every time East and South play, our girls play to their full potential. It’s going to be trading baskets, and it’s going to be physical.”
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BACK TO THE FUTURE: May signed with Catawba in November, and South’s game against Carson on Saturday was the first time she played at Goodman Gym knowing it’s her future home floor.
May didn’t score in the first quarter but finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
“It was a little nerve-racking for a minute, but I’m excited,” May said. “It was exciting to sort of get a glimpse of what’s coming the next four years.”
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LEADING THE WAY: Garmon was able to rest most of East’s starters for the final 12 minutes of an 83-39 victory against North Rowan on Saturday.
Ashley Collins returned to the lineup late in the third quarter to act as a ball-handler. Collins and Katelynne Poole took turns leading a group of four reserves.
“This is their senior year, this is their last tournament, and both of them are excellent leaders,” Garmon said. “I just wanted somebody on the floor to lead the young kids.”Reserves scored 27 of East’s 41 second-half points. Olivia Sabo led the group with seven. Mallory Drew, Taylor Honeycutt and Madelyn File had six apiece.
“Our bench is strong,” Garmon said. “I’ve got a lot of good kids that can come in and play hard. They looked confident. They continued to push the ball up the court and continued the level of play. That’s the big thing I’m proud of.”
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TIRELESS WORKER: Quon Cuthbertson led the way for North’s girls against East.
Cuthbertson made less than one-third of her field-goal attempts but continued to hustle in a 26-point, 18-rebound outing.
“Effort is something I have to enforce,” first-year North coach Tony Hillian said. “We have to have effort for 32 minutes. You can’t give up just because it’s a 25-point lead.”
Cuthbertson accounted for 10 of North’s 14 baskets, and she grabbed 12 offensive boards.
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FRESH FACES: Carson girls coach Brooke Misenheimer praised freshmen Chloe Monroe, Sarrah Holman and Jakey Clark following the Cougars’ loss to South.
The trio combined for only two points but took an aggressive approach.
“They came in and played hard,” Misenheimer said. “They looked to attack offensively and take the ball to the basket.”
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FAVORITE VENUE: Senior point guard Hunter Morrison scored 35 points in a 68-56 victory against Davie County in the first round, the most points ever scored by a South Rowan player in the Christmas tournament.
The tournament, which was named for former Catawba coach Sam Moir in 1996, dates back to 1971.
Many don’t fare well at Catawba where the floor is bigger and the shooting background much different than the average high school gym, but Morrison, who had 30 points with three minutes left in the third quarter, thrives in the tourney.
His coming-out party was a 25-point outing at Goodman Gym that beat West Rowan in the 2007 Moir event.
“This is my favorite gym of all the places I’ve been,” Morrison said. “I’ve played so many summer-camp games at Catawba that I’m comfortable here.”
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FRIENDLY FOES: Morrison and Davie senior Drew Absher were on different sides on Saturday, but they were AAU teammates all summer.
“Hunter is a great guy and a great player and he made me look good when we played in Orlando in front of a lot of Division I coaches,” Absher said. “He set up for a lot of 3s.”
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MARKED MAN: Absher, the son of Davie’s coach, is as familiar a sight at the Moir as Catawba SID Jimmy Lewis, and he’s been terrific in the event.
In nine games prior to Saturday, Absher had averaged 15.8 points a game and had topped 20 points three times.
But Absher has the primary scoring and ballhandling responsibilities this season for the first time and Davie also doesn’t have an overwhelming post presence to take any pressure off.
Those factors plus a South defense that concentrated on him and double-teamed him at the top of the circle to get the ball out of his hands contributed to a rough night.
Absher was limited to 13 points and shot 1-for-8 on 3s.
“Drew was getting open shots early, but then we did a better job calling out the screens,” South’s Reid Shaver said. “Drew doesn’t miss, but he was missing.”
Absher pointed a finger only at himself.
“Just one of those nights,” he said. “We could have won if we’d made a few shots in the third quarter, but you look at the stats and we missed 11 free throws and 17 3-pointers.
“It was the first night in this gym since we played West Rowan my freshman year that I felt like I just couldn’t make a shot.”
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TOUGH TIMES: North Rowan’s boys take on Davie today at 1:30 p.m. and could really use a win.
North is 4-13 in the Moir since winning the event in 2000 and has dropped seven in a row.
The Cavs have lost six straight Moir games to Davie and haven’t beaten the War Eagles in the tourney since 1990.
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Bret Strelow and Mike London contributed to the notebook.

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