Statesville girls 58, West Rowan 54
By Bret Strelow
STATESVILLE ó One disastrous quarter prevented West Rowan from possibly upsetting the defending NPC champion.
Ayana Avery posted 24 points for the Falcons, who scored twice in the final 20 seconds to close out a 58-54 loss at Statesville on Tuesday.
The Greyhounds (4-3, 2-0) held off Carson in their league opener and used a dominant third quarter to gain separation from West (1-2, 0-1).
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not terribly disappointed,” West coach Erich Epps said. “It’s a tough place to play. These girls and North Iredell are the front-runners in this conference. We played one of the better teams in our conference on the road to a close ballgame. Take away the third quarter, we probably outplayed them for three quarters, but they just killed us in that third quarter.”
West, thanks to 15 points from Avery, held a five-point lead with two minutes left in the second quarter and took a 25-24 edge into the break.
Statesville opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run and was in front by 16 before Avery attempted a shot in the period. She scored with 34 seconds left to draw West within 49-35.
“I was telling my girls, I honestly feel like Avery is probably the best shooter in the state,” Statesville coach Todd Jones said. “I really believe she’s got that kind of range and ability to knock down any shot once she crosses halfcourt. We really concentrated on stopping her, and I thought that was the difference in the game in the third quarter.”
Avery was scoreless until she hit a contested 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:59 remaining in the first quarter. She drew a foul while making a 3-pointer from the other wing 15 seconds later.
West trailed 58-50 before Avery fed freshman Shay Steele (11 rebounds, eight blocks, seven points) for a layup with 20 seconds left, and Avery turned a quick steal into another layup.
“I think we have potential,” Epps said, “but we have to get a little bit more aggressive and get a little bit more intensity at all times.”
WEST ROWAN (54) ó Avery 24, Holloway 8, Steele 7, Ball 6, Cross 4, Parker 3, Watkins 2, Turner, As.Dutton, Barber, Baucom.STATESVILLE (58) ó N.Harvey 16, Williams 13, Parker 8, Bradley 7, Watts 5, Brown 5, Jones 4, Brenwick, Sherrill, McCord.W. Rowan 12 13 10 19 ó 54
Statesville 13 11 25 9 ó 58