NPC Tournament: Statesville girls 70, South Rowan 49
By Mike London
STATESVILLE ó Turnovers come in a variety of flavors.
There’s blueberry, cherry, apple ó and Raider. Thirty-one turnovers short-circuited an attempt by South Rowan’s girls to shock the world on Wednesday.
South lost to No. 1 seed Statesville 70-49 in an NPC tournament semifinal but competed well against a relentless bunch of Greyhounds (22-3) that had humbled the Raiders 63-22 and 72-30 earlier.
“They got us by 40 twice,” South coach Jim Brooks said. “But people got a look at some guts, some heart and some determination.”
Fourth-seeded South trailed 43-37 late in the third quarter and there was still reasonable doubt. But foul trouble hurt, and Statesville’s Keyrra Gillespie and Janitsha Williams broke it open.
Williams scored 29 points, mostly on high-wire stickbacks and sneaky steals.
Taylor May shot 7-for-13, pulled down nine rebounds and scored 16 points for South to boost her career total to 980. Molly Garrett had 12 points. Libby Sides played great and had seven.
Garrett fueled an early South surge. South (15-11) led 11-4 before Statesville settled in and turned up the thermostat defensively.
South trailed 34-26 at halftime.
“We knew we had to come out strong because they’d beaten us really pretty bad twice,” Garrett said. “We wanted to pull the upset, but Gillespie was good trapping us. She’d just come out of nowhere, and you were double-teamed.”
The Clemson-bound Gillespie does that sort of thing. She also broke the state record for assists ó she has more than 900 ó when she set up Cameron Bradley for a key 3-pointer in the third quarter.
“It seems like yesterday Keyrra was competing against (West Rowan’s) RaShonda Mayfield,” Statesville coach Todd Jones said. “We’ve known since her freshman year Keyrra was special, and I’m very happy she got the record.”
south rowan (49) ó May 16, Garrett 12, Sides 7, Morrow 6, Goins 4, K. Haywood 2, W. Haywood 2, Swartz, Roberts.
statesville (70) ó Williams 29, Gillespie 13, C. Bradley 9, B. Bradley 7, Brown 6, Bailey 4, Sherrill 2, Smith.
S. Rowan 15 11 11 12 ó 49
Statesville 18 16 18 18 ó 70