Prep hoops: South Rowan girls 53, Mt. Pleasant 29
By Mike London
MOUNT PLEASANT — Coach Neil Pifer reads the newspapers, and so do his Mount Pleasant Tigers, and they were naturally curious about this Locklear girl from South Rowan.
“Before the game, our girls were all asking, ‘OK, which one of them is Locklear?’ ” Pifer said. “They knew that as she goes, South goes.”
Locklear isn’t hard to spot — she’s the one with the dark braids, a tribute to her Native American heritage on her father’s side — but she is hard to stop.
The freshman sat down for good with six minutes still to play with 19 points, and South cruised past the Tigers 53-29 in the MP gym.
“We put our best defender on her,” Pifer said. “But we never stopped her. She’s just a very tough player.”
South coach Jarrod Smith was happy with Locklear and sophomore Lynsey Corriher (10 points, 15 rebounds), but he was probably more thrilled to see Lauren Miller bury a 3-pointer and Kaitlyn Jones hit an outside shot. Those two are seniors. Miller was returning from an ankle injury, while Jones was in her second game back from a concussion.
“As excited as we are about the future, we want this to be a really good season for our seniors,” Smith said. “It’s great to be building, but we believe we can do something good with this season. Now that we’re healthy again, we’re on the verge of being a decent basketball team.”
South (3-3) missed eight free throws in the first quarter but still took a 17-9 lead.
“We all feel like our record should be better, and we just came out ready to play,” Corriher said. “Mount Pleasant has some big girls, but we did a good job of boxing out. We kept them from getting many second chances.”
Locklear had nine points in the second quarter, including a rare four-point play.
“I got pushed on a 3, so I threw it up and I got lucky,” Locklear said.
After three quarters, South was up by 22 points, and Smith played everybody.
It was a surprisingly easy road win. The Tigers (2-4) had won their last two outings and had prevailed at East Rowan.
“I thought it would be a very evenly matched game, but they played zone and we couldn’t shoot them out of it and South executed their offense better than anyone we’ve played to this point,” said Pifer, who coached the South girls in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.”
Senior Kayla Corriher had eight points and eight boards for the Raiders.
“This was a very good team effort, “ Locklear said. “We know we’ve got to shoot a better percentage on free throws, but our defensive intensity was there from the start.”
SOUTH ROWAN (53) — Locklear 19, L. Corriher 10, K. Corriher 8, Allison 6, Jones 4, Miller 3, Register 2, Coley 1, Honeycutt, Deal, McCoy, McConneaughey.
MOUNT PLEASANT (29) — Cline 9, Andrews 6, Williams 5, Gill 4, Hunt 3, Harrison 2, Harper, Wade, Rhinehardt, Koldsbaek.
S. Rowan 17 15 11 10 — 53
Mt. Pleas. 9 8 4 8 — 29