Prep Basketball: East Rowan girls 53, West Rowan 42

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2009

By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan’sAshley Collins didn’t get every rebound ó just most of them.
Collins, a 5-foot-8 senior, pulled down 16 boards in a 53-42 NPC victory against West Rowan. She was far more excited about working overtime on the glass than scoring a game-high 18 points.
“I’ve never had that many rebounds before, but we’ve spent half our practices lately on rebound drills,” Collins said. “That’s what we’ve really emphasized.”
The third-place Mustangs didn’t play exceptionally ó 34.6-percent shooting and 20 turnovers ó but boxing out efficiently allowed them to handle their biggest rival.
Katelynne Poole chipped in with 13 points for East (10-5, 7-2), while Olivia Rankin had seven points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
Madelyn File scored six second-half points off the bench. Alaina Vanderford and Mackenzie Holshouser keyed a defensive effort that limited West sophomore Ayana Avery, the county’s leading scorer, to 10 points. Avery scored just two points in the second half as East frustrated the Falcons with a diamond-and-one alignment.
“I’ve watched Ayana make tough shots and take over a lot of games, but we did everything we wanted to do defensively,” East coach Karen Garmon said. “Either Mackenzie or Alaina was covering her and they’d switch if she got a screen. One girl would pick her up and the other would slide back into the diamond.”
The teams traded baskets the first 13 minutes, and West took a 21-20 lead on a basket by Ashley Dutton with 2:38 left in the first half.
But East finished the half on a decisive 10-0 run that included 3s by Collins and Vanderford and transition baskets by Collins and Poole.
“Those last three minutes of the half were the difference in the game,” West coach Erich Epps said. “East made some deep shots.”
Avery getting only half her scoring average could have meant a blowout, especially with West’s second option Mila Simmons going down in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, but the Falcons hung reasonably close with a lot of role players contributing points.
Down 16 points in the third quarter, the Falcons (6-8, 3-6) crept as close as 45-36 with 4:35 left on a 12-footer by Amber Holloway before East finally put the game away.
“We wanted to compete with them and we did that,” Epps said.
West played without Gabby Calloway (illness) and Allison Baucom (soccer trip). Peyton Sawyer regains eligibility Thursday.
WEST ROWAN (42) ó Avery 10, Simmons 8, Cross 6, Dutton 4, Moose 4, Holloway 4, Parker 2, Watkins 2, Gillespie 2, Watson, Turner. EAST rowan (53) ó Collins 18, Poole 13, Rankin 7, Vanderford 6, File 6, Holshouser 3, Sabo.
W. Rowan 12 9 7 14 ó 42
E. Rowan 11 19 12 11 ó 53