Prep Basketball Playoffs: Hickory girls 86, South Rowan 37: South’s May reaches 1,000 for her career
By Bret Strelow
HICKORY ó An 86-37 loss to second-ranked Hickory ended the prep basketball career of South Rowan senior Taylor May, but she emerged from the visiting locker room with a souvenir and a smile.
May scored 20 points to hit 1,000 on the nose in a 3A playoff opener Monday night.
“Twenty was the number in my head all day, and I just kept thinking about it,” May said. “I started getting some putbacks, and when I got up to about 10, you’re going, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m halfway there.’ ”
A show of sportsmanship from Hickory coach Barbara Helms benefited May, who reached the milestone on a layup with 2:47 remaining and received a hug from coach Jim Brooks as officials halted play.
May, a Catawba signee, entered the fourth quarter with 12 points and missed her next five field-goal attempts. Helms, aware of what was at stake, abandoned a trapping defense that had given South fits and cleared her bench.
May capitalized on a noteworthy size advantage in the post and scored four baskets in a span of two minutes.
“I really didn’t know starting out (the season) with 628 (points) how real it could be,” May said. “Playing tonight, my knees shaking, then it being six, four, two and finally getting it. Their team altogether is just crazy good, and I didn’t really know what to expect.”
Brooks immediately thanked Helms for cooperating with May’s pursuit, and the coaches agreed to exchange basketballs so May could keep the game-used one.
Brooks and May both used the word “classy” to describe the gestures.
“I would think somebody would do the same for me,” Helms said. “We had a girl this year get 1,000, and you’re always happy for a senior that can accomplish that.”
It wasn’t easy.
South (15-12) committed turnovers on six of its first seven possessions against the Red Tornadoes (27-0) and fell behind 25-2. May missed all six of her shot attempts in the first quarter and finally broke through in the second, when she scored four points.
She went 4-for-8 from the field in the third quarter as teammates and coaches urged her to shoot.
“I felt like everybody on the team wanted her to get it,” Brooks said. “Taylor has done more for this program than this program has done for Taylor, and there’s a lot we’re going to miss.
“Sometimes kids just deserve good things, and she’s a kid that’s come every day and has worked hard every day and played hard every game.”
SOUTH ROWAN (37) ó May 20, Goins 4, Morrow 4, Garrett 4, Swartz 3, Sides 2, K.Haywood, W.Haywood, Roberts, McManus, Barringer.
HICKORY (86) ó Hilton 20, Baptista 14, Sigmon 14, Payne 12, Miller 9, Meade 6, Brown 5, Colbert 2, McGill 2, Hurley 2.
South Rowan 6 7 14 10 ó 37
Hickory 27 21 24 14 ó 86