Concord girls 75, East Rowan 60
By Bret Strelow
CONCORD ó East Rowan’s girls entered another gym with a banner commemorating a recent state title. They exited this time with their own sense of accomplishment.
Alaina Vanderford scored a career-high 16 points, Taylor Honeycutt contributed 12 and Madalyn File had 10 as the Mustangs hung tough in a 75-60loss at Concord on Tuesday.
East fell 80-31 in an opener at Salisbury, the reigning 2A champion, and returned to action against a program that won the 3A title in 2008.
“Coming out the first two games, we’ve played two of the toughest teams you could possibly play,” East coach Karen Garmon said. “Tonight, talking to my team, it’s like a win.”
Charlotte signee Nyshia Hammonds scored 23 of her game-high 30 points in the first half for Concord, which trailed 15-11 after one quarter.
The teams combined for 35 points in the first 31/2 minutes of the second quarter, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Vanderford helped the Mustangs stay close during that barrage.
“It was amazing to just watch my kids play basketball,” Garmon said. “They weren’t worried about Xs and Os. They were communicating, and it looked awesome. I can’t wait to go home and watch it.”
East scored 22 points in the period, allowed 36 and trailed by 10 at halftime.
“Concord’s a tough team, a lot like Salisbury,” Garmon said. “Last week we didn’t show up; we kind of buckled under the pressure. They were the same caliber of team, and our girls came out and did everything, met every goal.
“We put as many points on the board as we could have. Concord shot 70, 80 percent ó it felt that way. They’re a great team.”
East drew within 58-47 midway through the third quarter when Devan Corpening, who finished with 13 rebounds, chased down a loose ball in the corner and saved it to File while falling out of bounds. File hit an open 3-pointer.
Concord extended its lead to 21 points in the fourth quarter, but Vanderford answered with back-to-back 3s.
“We played way better today; we played as a team,” Vanderford said.
Mallory Drew grabbed eight rebounds for East, and Mackenzie Holshouser had four first-quarter steals. Four first-half fouls limited her playing time.
The previous scoring high for Vanderford was nine points as a sophomore. Now a senior, she’s led the team in both games.
“They’ve told me to shoot more,” she said, “so I decided to start shooting.”
EAST ROWAN (60) ó Vanderford 16, Honeycutt 12, File 10, Corpening 7, Drew 6, Holshouser 5, Means 4, Sabo, Dunlap.CONCORD (75) ó Hammonds 30, Edwards 12, M.Black 12, E.Black 7, Berry 6, Lynch 4, Briggs 4, Shue, Sanders.
East Rowan 15 22 10 13 ó 60
Concord 11 36 18 10 ó 75