Prep Basketball: A.L. Brown 44, South Rowan 37
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó ěThrow it, throw it!î screamed A.L. Brown girls coach Mike Wolford, and after a momentís hesitation senior Sara Tuttle complied.
Coming out of a timeout, Tuttle fired a perfect home-run pass to a streaking Aliyah Spears at extra-long Bullock Gym, and the 94-foot play pushed the Wondersí lead over South Rowan from three points to five with a minute to go.
That was the backbreaker, as the Wonders beat South 44-37 and gave Wolford an exciting win in his coaching debut.
ěWe practice that play all the time, but it never seems to work,î Tuttle said with a smile. ěProbably because I think about it too much. But tonight it just kinda happened.î
Veterans Spears (14 points) and Tuttle (10) keyed Brown.
Playing without injured guards Lauren Miller (high ankle sprain) and Kaitlyn Jones (mild concussion), South got offense from Avery Locklear (11), and Alexa Allison and Lynsey Corriher, who had nine apiece. Locklear, a freshman, led South (1-2) in scoring for the third straight game.
Wolfordís 2-2-1 press bewildered the Raiders early and the Wonders jumped ahead 12-1, but once South settled down it turned into a scrap.
ěWe got them a little flustered early, but South did the same things they did when I saw them play against Northwest Cabarrus on Monday,î Wolford said. ěThey play smart and they donít miss free throws and that allowed them to stay in the game.î
South survived a brutal first quarter ó 1-for-9 shooting and eight turnovers ó to creep within 28-20 at halftime.
Then Brown went ice-cold in the third, shooting 2-for-16. The Wondersí only two buckets in that period came from Tuttle on an acrobatic reverse and a rainbow 3-pointer.
Brownís key post player Raven Patton got her fourth foul coming over the back of Southís Kayla Corriher with 7:26 left, and the Raiders caught up on a flurry of points by Allison and Locklear. Locklear gave South a 37-36 lead with 4:20 remaining, but the Raiders wouldnít score again.
ěWe didnít have two senior guards against a team that presses, but we played really hard and had a lot of people step up,î South coach Jarrod Smith said. ěWe missed 14 point-blank shots and made 21 turnovers and still had a good chance to win the game.î
Brown took the lead for good on a clutch baseline shot by Bianca Smith with 3:08 left, and Spearsí transition bucket pushed the lead to 40-37. Then the home-run pass sealed it.
ěWe had a lot of young girls that had nerves tonight and we can play a lot better,î Tuttle said. ěBut we got the win.î
SOUTH ROWAN (37) ó Locklear 11, Allison 9, L. Corriher 9, K. Corriher 4, Register 2, Coley 2, McCoy, McConneaughey.
A.L. BROWN (44) ó Spears 14, Tuttle 10, Grant 6, Smith 5, Phifer 4, Brice 4, Cannon 1, Vernon, Shue, Grier, Chalmers.
S. Rowan 5 15 8 9 ó 37
A.L. Brown 14 14 5 11 ó 44
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