Prep Basketball: West Rowan girls 53, South Rowan 47

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 16, 2011

By Mike London
LANDIS — West Rowan’s girls rebounded in more ways than one.
Coming off an ugly, throw-in-the-towel, 40-point loss to Salisbury, the Falcons weathered foul trouble and beat South Rowan 53-47 on the road on Friday.
“The biggest thing was all the work we did with rebounding drills,” West’s Shay Steele said. “It paid off tonight.”
West (3-3, 2-0 NPC) did hit the boards with more fire.
“We had a really long talk about that,” first-year coach Todd McNeely said. “It was a closed gym talk for an hour.”
McNeely got his point across. Alison Sobataka yanked down eight rebounds, Brittany Barber grabbed seven, and Quanice Miller, who used to be way down the bench, played a lot and pulled down another half-dozen.
There were numerous boards available with South (4-5, 1-1) shooting 14.8 percent from the field and missing 13 free throws.
West played lots of 1-3-1 zone, and South settled for rushed shots in the lane or 3-point tries.
Kaitlyn Jones knocked down three 3s and scored 11, but no one else had success from outside. Lauren Miller got seven of her 12 points from the foul line, while Avery Locklear got her 13 points in flurries at the end of the half and the end of the game.
Steele had 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to pace the Falcons. Nycieko Dixon hit two early 3s and scored 15.
Both teams had key scorers limited by fouls. Steele got two quick ones, and Locklear had her second midway through the first quarter.
West led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Locklear made three buckets in the last two minutes of the second quarter to lift the Raiders within 26-21 at halftime.
Lynsey Corriher drew Steele’s third foul late in the third quarter, and she was tagged with another in the first minute of the fourth.
Steele had to sit, but her teammates picked her up.
When Brooke Harrington hit a 3-pointer with 6:10 left in the game, the Falcons went up by a dozen, and their lead peaked at 15 when Sobataka scored with 4:10 left.
The game appeared over, but a 3-pointer by Jones triggered a pretty amazing rally.
With coach Jarrod Smith alternating offensive and defensive platoons, Kayla Corriher, who had 14 rebounds, pulled South within 51-44 with a stickback. It was 51-47 after Locklear swished a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left.
Steele missed the front of a one-and-one with 25 seconds left, but Kayla Corriher missed on a 3-pointer that would’ve cut the deficit to one.
Steele clinched the win by blocking a shot and racing to the other end for a layup.
“I went up straight up to meet the ball, and then I ran the floor hard,” Steele said.
South lost its seventh straight to the Falcons.
“We played a heck of a fourth quarter,” Smith said. “But when we still had all kinds of time, we weren’t playing that hard. Then we hit a few shots and got excited, but it was too late.”
WEST ROWAN (53) — Steele 18, Dixon 15, Barber 7, Sobataka 6, Harrington 3, Q. Miller 2, Dutton 2, Ball, Hunter, Cross.
SOUTH ROWAN (47) — Locklear 13, L. Miller 12, Jones 11, K. Corriher 8, Allison 2, L. Corriher 1, Register, Coley.
W. Rowan 14 12 12 15 — 53
S. Rowan 8 13 9 17 — 47