West Rowan girls 70, North Rowan 51
By Bret Strelow
SPENCER ó West Rowan guard Ayana Avery enjoyed a record-breaking performance once she worked through some initial struggles.
Avery, who missed five of her first six shots, scored a school-record 40 points in West Rowan’s 70-51 victory at North Rowan on Monday night.
Avery ó to the chagrin of her father, Stuart ó settled for long jumpers in the early going.
“I was like, ‘I should just stop shooting,’ ” Avery said. “My daddy always tells me, ‘Stop shooting so much. Go to the basket.’ I started doing that.”Steals and long rebounds created transition opportunities for Avery, who made 15 of her final 18 shots.
The previous record of 38 points belonged to Avery (against Mooresville last season) as well as Andrea Grissett (1993) and Wendy Hampton (1994).
“When they told me in the first half I had 27, I was kind of shocked,” said Avery, a junior who increased her career total to 987 points. “I thought I hadn’t even been scoring that much.”
Avery had contributed two points to West’s 10-6 lead before she erupted for 11 points in the final 2:18 of the first quarter.
A personal 7-0 run in the last 51 seconds gave the Falcons (3-2) a 21-10 advantage heading to the second quarter, and 19 seconds passed before Avery hit a 3-pointer.
Of her 27 first-half points, 25 were scored in a span of nine minutes. Avery posted nine points in the third quarter and left the lineup shortly after reaching 40 with 4:09 remaining in the game. She finished with a double-double thanks to her 10 rebounds.
The Falcons, who led 44-17 at the break, were actually outscored by eight points in the second half.
“Two different games,” West coach Erich Epps said. “We dominated in the first half; they dominated in the second half.”
Epps wasn’t pleased with his team’s defense, which allowed the Cavaliers (2-4) to score 19 fourth-quarter points.
North’s Symphony Roberts came off the bench and had 23 points in her first game back from a knee strain, and Teaunna Cuthbertson added 13 points. She grabbed 10 rebounds.
“The effort was 100-percent better in the third and fourth quarters,” North coach Tony Hillian said. “We’re a fourth-quarter team, but we have to become a first-, second- and third-quarter team as well.”
WEST ROWAN (70) ó Avery 40, Steele 10, Watkins 6, Ball 4, Al.Dutton 3, Barber 3, Cross 2, Holloway 2, Turner, As.Dutton, Baucom, Parker.
NORTH ROWAN (51) ó Roberts 23, Cuthbertson 13, Brown 6, Davis 4, Vann 3, Sells 2, Berry, J.Turner, E.Turner, Bagley.
West Rowan 21 23 13 13 ó 70
North Rowan 10 7 15 19 ó 51