West Rowan girls 70, East Rowan 40
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA — It was a strange blowout.
Leading by just nine points and in desperate foul trouble late the third quarter, West Rowan wiped out rival East Rowan 70-40 in the West gym on Thursday.
The Mustangs (3-9, 1-3) made just two field goals in the second half (none in the fourth quarter) and were outscored 29-8 in the last 10 minutes of the NPC contest.
“We had a good combination on the floor in the third quarter to play man-to-man and we played our best man defense all season,” West coach Erich Epps said. “We had some girls that were really moving their feet.”
West got 17 points from Ayana Avery and 13 from Brittney Barber. Olivia Sabo scored 13 for East.
It was an even game in the first quarter with East getting 3-pointers from Sabo, Ashley Goins and Mallory Drew.
West (10-4, 3-1) was clinging to a 22-20 lead late in the first half when Avery caught fire. In a span of 84 seconds, she drilled three straight 3s.
“Sometimes it just comes, and it came,” said Avery, who has 1,728 career points. “I started making some shots.”
Avery ended the half with a behind-the-back dribble and a running scoop that beat the horn for a 35-27 West lead.
“Just saw the defenders and was able to avoid them and hit the shot,” Avery said.
Still, East, playing without 6-foot-3 freshman Karleigh Wike (elbow) appeared in decent shape with 3:18 left in the third quarter when Drew grabbed an offensive rebound and drew the fourth foul on West shot-blocker Shay Steele.
Steele joined starting post Tabitha Ball, who already had four fouls, on the bench.
Drew made one free throw to cut West’s lead to 41-32, but West guard Nycieko Dixon got loose for two quick transition buckets. Then West’s defense, which got a lift from Allison Parker and Alison Sobataka, clamped down, and the Falcons steadily pulled away.
“The gameplan was to drive it at them and get them in foul trouble, and it really worked,” East coach Danielle Porter said. “But it’s like we lost our legs in the second half. We started missing layups and stopped jumping for rebounds. I lost track of how many times West got four and five attempts to score.”
West did just about everything right in the second half.
“The first half, we were doing a lot of dribbling up top and didn’t look like much,” Epps said. “But the second half, we gave the ball up, played defense and looked like a pretty good team.”
EAST ROWAN (40) — Sabo 13, Goins 9, Drew 8, Honeycutt 5, Fry 3, Poole 1, Sides 1, Lowe, Rummage.
WEST ROWAN (70) — Avery 17, Barber 13, Steele 10, Dixon 8, Caldwell 6, Ball 6, Watson 3, Sobataka 3, Dutton 2, Miller 2, Parker.
E. Rowan 9 18 7 6 — 40
W. Rowan 10 25 14 21 — 70