Prep Basketball: North Iredell girls 62, West Rowan 36
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA ó A career-high 19 points by freshman Nycieko Dixon kept West Rowan from being embarrassed ó but not from being blown out.
North Iredell, ranked No. 1 in 3A, crushed West 62-36 in an NPC makeup game played on Saturday afternoon.
North Iredell shot 32 percent, but the Raiders ruled with defense and rebounding.
ěWe missed a lot of easy shots,î NI coach Tami Ramsey said. ěBut our energy was great. We got after it.î
Junior Bri Johnson was phenomenal, collecting 20 points and 18 rebounds, basically in three quarters of duty.
Johnson also spearheaded a defensive lockdown on West star Ayana Avery, who was held to 10 shots and seven points. Avery scored a school-record 42 at NI last season.
ěWe worked all week on different game situations and on switching people on Avery, and we double-teamed her whenever they set a ball screen,î Johnson said.
Brooke Redmond added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Raiders. Emory Haynes stroked two 3s and finished with 12 points. Deesa Singletery, NIís electrifying point guard, didnít need to turn it on and added a low-key 10.
It was even for the first six minutes, with both teams struggling mightily to score.
Dixon put the Falcons (12-5, 4-2) ahead 8-7 with a free throw with 2:03 left in the first quarter, but that would be Westís last lead. The Raiders (12-1, 5-0) responded with a 3-pointer by Kaitlyn Haneline and promptly reeled off 16 unanswered points.
West shot 25 percent in the first half and turned it over 13 times. At the break, the Falcons trailed 32-15, and the outcome was settled.
West entered the day averaging 58.4 points per game.
Shay Steele, the countyís No. 2 scorer behind Avery, was held to two points. The tall sophomore, playing with a bad ankle and hindered by two early fouls, did produce nine boards and five blocked shots.
Dixon scored 10 of Westís 14 in the final quarter.
ěI tried to do my part, but North Iredell plays good defense,î she said. ěWe didnít play with a very good attitude today, and against a team like that, thatís going to be a problem. Itís going to look ugly.î
Bottom line: North Iredell, which has lost only to Salisbury, looked like a legit No.1.
ěThe ranking is nice and the girls know about it, but it doesnít mean that much,î Ramsey said. ěYou still have to go prove it on the court.î
On Saturday, they did.
NORTH IREDELL (62)ó Johnson 20, Haynes 12, Redmond 12, Singletery 10, Haneline 6, Childers 2, Lunsford, M. Johnson, James, Branch, Robbins.
WEST ROWAN (36) ó Dixon 19, Avery 7, Dutton 4, Steele 2, Ball 2, Barber 2, Miller, Caldwell, Harrington, Sobataka, Parker.
N. Iredell 12 20 13 17 ó 62
W. Rowan 8 7 7 14 ó 36