Moir Christmas Classic: West Rowan girls 45, South Rowan 30
By Mike London
firstname.lastname@example.org – – See a gallery of photos from the game here. – – – West Rowan girls coach Erich Epps called it U-G-L-Y, slowly spelling the word out with capital letters.
And he was the winner.
You can imagine how South coach Jarrod Smith felt after coming out on the short end of a first-round Moir game that included 52 turnovers and 83 missed field-goal attempts.
South was also 3-for-13 from the foul line, but no need to mention that. The only number that mattered was that third-seeded West staggered to a haggard 45-30 victory and earned the chance to play Davie in a semifinal today.
Sixth-seeded South (3-8) executed Smith’s gameplan ó patience, decent shot selection and a box-and-one defense that flustered West star Ayana Avery, who entered the tournament averaging 24.8 points a game. Avery sat down at the end of the bench with two fouls after the first quarter and didn’t play at all in the second.”Ayana’s one of the best in the county, but she got frustrated with the box-and-one and wasn’t in a talking mood,” Epps said. “We couldn’t seem to slow down and run an offense. We were full gear or at a complete stop.”
South’s downfall was its inability to put the ball in the basket, and it doesn’t matter if Mike Krzyzewski is in charge if you can’t make a layup. South’s coaching staff counted 32 of those.
“We slowed it down and we were patient and we got good shots,” Smith said. “But our shooters couldn’t hit jumpshots and our post players couldn’t hit layups.”
That about sums it up. South shot 16.9 percent from the field ó 12-for-71.
You can’t win doing that, even though South sophomore Asia Caple hit three 3-pointers and scored 16 points.
“I thought Asia played great,” Smith said. “Right now our young players are outplaying our upperclassmen.”
South’s starters shot a combined 2-for-38. No word from the Guinness people yet, but unofficially, that’s a world record.
The positive for South was everyone hustled like crazy. It made 23 steals ó including five by Caple and four each by Sam Goins, Kayla Corriher and Lauren Miller. Corriher, a sophomore, had nine boards. South had a whopping 27-11 edge on offensive rebounds.
West survived Avery’s struggles because Amber Holloway and Desere Cross produced nine points each and freshman Shay Steele came through with 11 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
It was 5-5 after an unsightly first quarter. Behind the play of Steele, West managed an 18-15 halftime lead.
“Ayana is a great aspect of our team, but we had to play a lot without her tonight,” Steele said. “We couldn’t worry about her not being out there. We just had to play as a team and get through it.”
West (5-2) didn’t play very well except in one electric burst, but that one spree was enough. Avery had nine quick points in a 17-0 run that opened the second half, and Holloway buried three jumpers as the Falcons won the quarter 19-2.
“Holloway got the jitters out, and then she made some big shots,” Epps said. “We’re just happy to advance.”
south ROWAN (30) ó Caple 16, Goins 6, Corriher 4, Morrow 2, Sides 2, Waldroup, Jones, Lookabill, Miller, McManus, Barringer.
west Rowan (45) ó Steele 11, Avery 10, Cross 9, Holloway 9, Turner 2, Watkins 2, Ball 2, Barber, Jenkins, Leach, As. Dutton, Baucom, Al. Dutton, Parker.S. Rowan 5 10 2 13 ó 30
W. Rowan 5 13 19 8 ó 45