Prep Basketball: Mount Pleasant girls 53, East Rowan 52
By David Shaw
GRANITE QUARRY ó It is four games into the season and East Rowanís girls basketball team remains winless.
The Mustangs were nonetheless encouraged by their effort in Friday nightís molar-grinding 53-52 loss to visiting Mount Pleasant.
ěAt least it was an inspired loss,î said coach Danielle Porter. ěThey played inspired basketball. Thatís what Iíve been waiting to see ó a group that meshes well, plays defense, gets after loose balls and boxes out.î
She also saw a fourth-quarter collapse that helped the Tigers (1-3) gain their first victory. East led by as many as seven points in the third period and was up 46-42 with less than two minutes to play.
ěTo come in here and beat a Rowan County team in their building is a tough thing to do,î said MP coach Neil Pifer, a former coach at South Rowan. ěWe needed a great game tonight and we got it.î
Mount Pleasant converted all nine of its free throw attempts in the decisive fourth quarter. ER, meanwhile, sank only 12 of 28 from the stripe.
ěFree throws are what lost the game for us,î East freshman Kelli Fisher said after netting 14 points. ěStill, it felt good to play as hard as we did. Even though we lost, it was our best game.î
It could have been better. East wiped out an early 14-4 deficit and closed the first half on a 9-0 run, surging to a 28-22 edge on Fisherís last-second layup. Another mini-run that saw 6-foot-3 sophomore Karleigh Wike (17 points, 19 rebounds) take a pretty feed from guard Kendal Brown and hit a turnaround layup put the Mustangs in good shape to seal the verdict.
Instead, a controversial technical foul was called against Wike with 1:52 remaining. ěMy girl was trying to inbound the ball under the basket and (Wike) slapped it out of her hands,î Pifer said. ěThatís an automatic technical.î
Porter and Wike contended that the ball had already been released.
ěI did the exact same thing earlier in the game,î Wike reported. ěAnd I knocked it off their girl for a turnover. But this was a different ref, with a different opinion. Itís my first tech ever, so yeah, I was surprised.î
MP senior Bethany Harrison converted the two free throws, then drained a 3-pointer to bring the guests within 48-47. Only 38 seconds remained when teammate Macy Andrews got a favorable bounce on an eight-foot set shot that put the Tigers ahead for good.
ěIf thereís such a thing as a good loss, this was it,î Wike later said. ěWe learned a lot, but itís always hard to lose.î
MOUNT PLEASANT (53) ó Hunt 18, Harrison 18, Cline 9, Andrews 6, Koldsbaek 2.
EAST ROWAN (52) ó Wike 17, Fisher 14, Thomas 8, Poole 3, Sides 3, Brown 3, Rummage 2, Gullett 2, Fry.
M. Pleas. 14 8 15 16 ó 53
E. Rowan 9 19 9 15 ó 52
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