Prep hoops: East Rowan girls 50, Lake Norman 41
By Bill Kiser
STATESVILLE ó East Rowan girls coach Karen Garmon didn’t recognize the team that lost twice to Lake Norman during the regular season.
The squad that showed up Thursday night?
Now that one Garmon was familiar with.
East held off several Wildcats rallies before pulling away late for a 50-41 victory in the semifinals of the NPC tournament.
It was the third-seeded Mustangs’ first win over No. 2 seed Lake Norman (20-5) this season, and it sends East (18-7) on to the league’s championship game for the second consecutive year.
There, East faces another tough matchup ó a game against defending NPC champ and No. 1 seed Statesville (22-3) ó at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at West Iredell.
“We’re going to be ready for them,” Garmon said of the Greyhounds, who have beaten East 51-41 and 68-52.
Seniors Katelynne Poole and Ashley Collins had 13 points each. Olivia Rankin added 12 for East, which opened the game with a 15-2 run and never trailed.
“The last time we played Lake Norman, we didn’t show up mentally or physically,” Garmon said. “Tonight, they gave me everything they had. They showed up tonight.”
However, the Wildcats did manage to give East some tense moments.
Lake Norman cut the Mustangs’ lead to one point twice in the second quarter and to two points twice in the second half, the last at 33-31 on Lindi Vince’s steal and layup with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter.
In East’s previous two games against the Wildcats, such a rally may have caused an East collapse.
Not so Thursday night.
East closed out the second quarter with a 7-2 run to go up 26-20 at the halftime break. After Lake Norman’s run early in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs broke loose for eight unanswered points to go ahead 41-31 with 3:54 remaining.
The Mustangs then locked up the win at the free-throw line, shooting 9-for-12 in the final 3:30.
For the game, East was 21-for-27 from the line. Lake Norman was shut out at the stripe for the first time this season.
“This is the first time we’ve really showed up to play them,” Collins said. “In the past, when they got it close, we’d kinda get a blank stare out there and our intensity would drop. Tonight, we didn’t. We’d get down for a possession, then our intensity would pick right back up.”
NOTES: East is 8-5 against Lake Norman in the history of the series. … The Mustangs are 7-10 lifetime against Statesville, which beat South Rowan 70-49 in a Wednesday semifinal. East last beat the Greyhounds in 2005. … Collins, who has 1,147 career points, needs five to pass Cristy Earnhardt McKinney for fourth place on East’s all-time scoring list.
EAST ROWAN (50) ó Collins 13, Poole 13, Rankin 12, Holshouser 9, Vanderford 3, File.LAKE NORMAN (41) ó Shalvey 10, Riley 8, Vince 8, Mannion 6, Stevens 6, Lewis 3, Wright, Howard, Kirkland.
East Rowan 15 11 7 17 ó 50
Lake Norman 7 13 7 14 ó 41
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