Moir Christmas Classic: East Rowan girls 52, North Rowan 47
By Ronnie Gallagher
Down 15-2 after one quarter to North Rowan, East Rowan girls coach Karen Garmon assessed the situation.
She realized the Cavaliers were trying to run and gun. That made her realize it was time to insert Tempest Means.
“Tempest loves to run and gun, and she’s great at it,” Garmon said.
Means made her coach look like a genius. She scored a career-high 20 points as East beat North at its own game, winning 52-47 to capture fifth place in the Moir Christmas Classic.
The Mustangs (3-10) came in with only one win but left the Moir on a two-game winning streak heading back into NPC play on Tuesday at South Rowan.
“It’s a great confidence builder,” Garmon said.
A glum North coach Tony Hillian expected better of his team after a lackluster opening loss to Carson. The Cavaliers fell to 3-6.
“We played a lot better,” he said. “But we were only 3 of 12 from the free-throw line in the first half, and we had a lot of turnovers. It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over like that.
North made all the right plays in the first quarter. Right off the bat, Cree Turner swished a 3-pointer. Symphony Roberts and Taylor Sells also hit from long distance.
Meanwhile, East was 1 of 16 from the field with Madalyn File’s layup creating the only points.
That’s when Garmon figured, by all Means, let’s run with them.
The 5-foot-5 senior immediately converted two three-point plays. She scored 11 in the quarter and was aided by two 3s from Alaina Vanderford. The Mustangs were back in it, trailing just 25-22 at the half.
“Tempest brings so much energy to the floor,” Garmon said. “She’s nonstop.”
And Means didn’t stop once the third quarter began.
East was trailing 33-28 when she hit a layup. She tied it up on her third three-point play and then fed Mackenzie Holshouser for the go-ahead bucket.
Two free throws by Means, a runner by Olivia Sabo and a layup by Means made it 41-35 going into the fourth quarter.
Vanderford, who finished with a season-high 17, took over from there, scoring seven in the final minutes, five on free throws. She has hit 15 free throws in East’s last two games.
“We played well in the first quarter,” Hillian said. “But then, we got complacent. We got lazy. We stopped moving our feet and started reaching in and fouling them. You don’t want to put a team like East on the free-throw line.”
NOTES: Roberts led North with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Tinka Bush added 12 points. … Sabo had 14 rebounds for East.
east Rowan (52) ó Means 20, Vanderford 17, File 7, Holshouser 4, Sabo 2, Corpening 2, Honeycutt, Drew.
North Rowan (47) ó Roberts 21, Bush 12, Vann 5, Sells 3, C. Turner 3, Cuthbertson 2, Brown 1, Davis, Berry, E. Turner.
East Rowan 2 20 19 11 ó 52
North Rowan 15 10 10 12 ó 47