Prep Basketball: Lake Norman 48, East Rowan 47

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

By Bret Strelow
GRANITE QUARRY ó The shots Lake Norman missed gave East Rowan’s girls trouble, and a last-minute make beat them.
Lake Norman pulled out a 48-47 win against the homestanding Mustangs in an NPC matchup of second-place teams Tuesday night.The Wildcats (10-3, 7-1) controlled the contest with their offensive rebounding, and East (8-5, 6-2) took its first lead of the second half when Mackenzie Holshouser fed Olivia Rankin (14 points) for a layup with 32 seconds left.
Mary Stevens erased a 47-45 deficit by drilling a 3-pointer from the left wing 12 seconds later.
“Their rebounding absolutely killed us,” East coach Karen Garmon said. “They just outhustled us on the boards, and that was the difference in the game.
“It doesn’t take size to get in there and box out and rebound. It takes heart more than anything, and I felt like they wanted it more. They outhustled us and outworked us. We decided to start playing in the fourth quarter, but it was too late.”
The Mustangs went 3-0 with a pair of blowouts against Lake Norman last season, and the Wildcats walked off the court as winners against East for only the second time in 11 tries.
The go-ahead 3 gave Stevens a team-leading 14 points, and East’s Ashley Collins missed a runner from the left block with 7.4 seconds left.
Lake Norman’s Jordan Lewis missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the ball went out of bounds off East. It regained possession when the Wildcats committed a traveling violation with 5.2 seconds remaining.
East guard Katelynne Poole (15 points) took the inbounds pass, raced up the right sideline and forced up a contested layup in traffic as the buzzer sounded. The ball brushed the lower edge of the backboard.
“This is a tough gym to win in ó they have good fans and the girls play hard here,” Lake Norman coach Dave Walla said. “Our kids had to play hard and win loose balls. For the majority of the night we did that, but East won them at the end of the game and almost took it back away from us.”East led 19-10 after a quarter and went 1-for-14 during a second period in which it was outscored 15-2. The Mustangs trailed 39-31 before Collins (12 points) ended the third quarter with an acrobatic three-point play.
Lake Norman, which had 12 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone thanks to the work of Marissa Riley, scored on consecutive putbacks to pull ahead 45-39 with 4:20 remaining.
Poole and Alaina Vanderford answered with layups, and Holshouser’s emphatic block of a shot by Stevens set up a transition opportunity. Collins made a game-tying layup with 1:23 left.
“We didn’t pull together until the fourth quarter,” Collins said. “They had good rebounders, and we weren’t able to box them out every single time. That was crucial. We got momentum back for a little bit, but it was just a little too late.”
East capitalized on its second chance to break the tie, but a wide-open Stevens delivered a dagger.
“She’s our best 3-point shooter,” Walla said. “She’s not Poole ó she doesn’t have those kinds of numbers ó but she was calm and knocked that sucker down.”
LAKE NORMAN (48) ó Stevens 14, Shalvey 12, Mannion 7, Riley 7, Lewis 4, Vince 2, Wright 2, Howard, Kirkland.
EAST ROWAN (47) ó Poole 15, Rankin 14, Collins 12, Holshouser 2, Vanderford 2, File 2, Sabo 2.Lake Norman 10 15 14 9 ó 48
East Rowan 19 2 13 13 ó 47