Prep basketball: A.L. Brown girls 65, South Rowan 47
By Paul Hershey
KANNAPOLIS ó Like any young team, South Rowan’s girls are looking to get better each game.
It didn’t result in a win, but coach Jarrod Smith said his team took a step forward Thursday in a 65-47 loss at A.L. Brown.
The Raiders lost by 42 in the first meeting but played the rival Wonders within a point in the second half of the rematch.
“Last time they beat us, they blew us out of the gym,” Smith said. “We came in in the first half playing very similarly to the way we did last time. We came out in the second half, and I just told them not to quit. Every play is a battle, and they have to fight for every possession.”
Although the game’s outcome was long decided, South outscored Brown 26-17 in the fourth quarter, keyed by full-court pressure defense.
“We came out and started pressing and started getting steals and started getting easy baskets,” Smith said. “I told them you don’t have to worry about offense if you can play ‘D’ like that every game. We’ve just got to find a way to put all four quarters together.”
While saying it was her team’s worst performance of the season, Brown coach Tosha Robinson added that South had improved since their game two weeks ago.
South’s young guards were no match for the Wonders ball-hawking defense early on. The Raiders turned it over 12 times before making their first basket in falling behind 10-0.
Brown made just 11 of 38 shots (29 percent) in the first half but still led 31-14 thanks to 25 South turnovers.
With junior Krista Swartz limited by a bad knee, Smith used a combination of sophomores Lauren Miller and Asia Caple at the point. Caple was more effective in the second half.
“We’re getting closer,” Smith said. “I think I’ve got a good combination with Miller and Asia together. Asia’s speed changes everything. And Swartz is teaching them in practice. She can’t go the whole game, but she’s helping them every day in practice.”
Caple scored a team-high 12 points for the Raiders (1-3). Kayla Morrow added eight.
Freshman Aaliyah Spears and fellow guard Zebresha Blakeney each had 13 points for the balanced Wonders (3-0). Jasmine McCauley chipped in 12 points and Jayana Lott had 11.
“The ladies are finally realizing that they can play basketball and are starting to work together as a team,” Robinson said. “We have a little cohesiveness about ourselves this year.”
South plays at Central Cabarrus tonight in a rematch of the Raiders’ lone victory.
“As young as we are, we look to build on anything,” Smith said. “We took a step back against Robinson and then we came in here and it looked like we were going to take another step back. But something got into them where they decided they were going to play. They finally let themselves go, and we can build on that.”
SOUTH ROWAN (47) ó Caple 12, Morrow 8, Goins 6, Miller 5, Barringer 4, Swartz 4, McManus 3, Waldroup 3, Sides 2, Corriher, Lookabill.
A.L. Brown (65) ó Spears 13, Blakeney 13, McCauley 12, Lott 11, Tuttle 7, Parker 6, Blackwelder 2, McGuine 1, Forrest, Cannon.
S. Rowan 4 10 7 26 ó 47
A.L. Brown 16 15 17 17 ó 65
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