Prep Basketball: West Iredell girls 41, South Rowan 33
By Mike London
STATESVILLE ó A heck of a fourth-quarter team during their three-game winning streak, South Rowan’s girls were a wreck of a fourth-quarter team in a 41-33 NPC loss at West Iredell.
South, which beat second-place Lake Norman last week, looked out of gas and out of offensive options in a rough fourth quarter. West Iredell outscored the visitors 18-7 in the final eight minutes.
“When you live and die with the fourth quarter, you die if you don’t show up and don’t take care of the ball,” South coach Jim Brooks said.
South’s depth situation was a factor. The Raiders dress eight and play six most of the time so every foul is a major concern.
South (13-9, 10-6) has enjoyed a fine season and is a lock to finish fourth for its best league finish since 2002, but Friday’s game is one it would like to toss in the nearest dumpster.
Kayla Morrow scored a career-best 11 points for the Raiders, while Molly Garrett had eight. Taylor May had five steals and three blocks during South’s strong third quarter, but West Iredell (11-11, 8-8) concentrated on her defensively and limited the senior to five points. South played again without shooter Nikki Graham, who was averaging 10 points a game before she was sidelined by a knee injury.
“Nikki’s our defense-stretcher,” Brooks said. “Without her, they could just back everything in.”
Five Warrior defenders often clustered in the paint, and forced passes to May were picked off.
“Taylor hurt us with 18 points the first time we played South so we kept a girl on her at all times,” West Iredell coach Phil Fox said.
Elizabeth Walden hit four 3s in the first half to propel the Warriors to a 22-17 halftime lead.
South adjusted and changed momentum by alternating its zone defense with Sam Goins guarding Walden in a box-and-one. South held WI to a single point in the third quarter and led 26-23 heading to the final eight minutes.
“No one’s played box-and-one on us all year because no one’s gotten that hot for us,” Fox said. “We had to kind of improvise an offense.”
West pulled it out because the fourth quarter was nightmarish for South. The Raiders were 3-for-8 at the foul line, 1-for-12 from the field and turned the ball over 10 times.
south ROWAN (33) ó Morrow 11, Garrett 8, May 5, Goins 5, Sides 2, K. Haywood 2, W. Haywood.
west iredell (41) ó Walden 15, Renwick 9, Watts 8, Chapman 4, Tuttle 2, Frye 2, Sigmon 1, Keever, Johnson.S. Rowan 7 10 9 7 ó 33
W. Iredell 9 13 1 18 ó 41