Moir Christmas Classic: East Rowan girls 73, Davie 56
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY ó The East Rowan girls gave their coach and their fans something for the first time all season:
A confident basketball performance.
The Mustangs looked like a well-oiled machine Wednesday in a 73-56 consolation victory over Davie in the Moir Christmas Classic at Catawba.
The 73 points were a season high. Forward Casey Gullettís seven points were a season high. Guard Steffi Sides scored a season-high 11. And the Twin Towers of 6-foot-2 freshman Kelli Fisher and 6-3 sophomore Karleigh Wike combined for 35 points and 24 rebounds. Fisher had 20 points, Wike 15.
If you were watching the Mustangs (2-11) for the first time, youíd have thought they were a top seed, not the lowest.
ěI knew it would happen,î East coach Danielle Porter said. ěIt was just a matter of them believing in themselves. Weíve got good shooters.î
East was a sizzling 51 percent from the field and 7 of 13 from 3-point land. Steffi Sides and Sydney Poole were both 2-for-3 from long distance.
It was obvious from the opening tip that Davie had no answer for the inside power. Poole started the game with a rebound basket. Then Fisher and Wike fed each other for buckets and a 6-0 lead, forcing Davie coach Denny Key to call a quick timeout. By halftime the Twin Towers had combined for 19 points.
ěI have high regard for both of them,î said Key. ěI expected them, with their size, to have a big night. It was the shooting outside, I thought, that was the difference.î
Sides and Caroline Fry had nine of the 19 second-quarter points and sparked East to a 35-20 halftime lead.
In the second half, when Davie made a run, an outside player responded.
The War Eagles scored the first seven points of the third quarter and Porter called a timeout. Kendall Brown immediately stroked a jumper.
Gullett was scoreless until Davie got within 11 with two minutes left in the third. She promptly tossed in seven straight points. Her last basket, a baseline jumper, gave East a 51-38 advantage entering the fourth.
ěWe look at Casey as a defensive player but today, she got a little more offensive-minded, which we need,î Porter said.
When Amy Steller scored the last two of her 11 fourth-quarter points off a steal to make it 59-52 with four minutes left, someone had to step up. This time, it was Fry, who drilled a 3 for a 10-point lead.
ěShe has a great, quick release,î Porter said of Fry. ěI feel confident every time she puts up a shot from the 3-point line. That gave us some breathing room.î
Appropriately, the final two East baskets were layups by Sides and Fry.
ěThe guards were playing with confidence,î Porter noted. ěThey knew it was on their shoulders. They were hungry. They wanted to win.î
NOTES: Sides dished out nine assists. … Fisher finished with 15 rebounds and Wike nine. … How dominant was East inside? The Mustangs outscored Davie in the paint 38-12. … Eastís reserves outscored Davieís bench 19-4. … Davie fell to 2-10 … The win earned East a third game, which is against North today at noon.
EAST ROWAN (73) ó Fisher 20, Wike 15, Sides 11, Fry 8, Poole 8, Gullett 7, Brown 4, Lowe.
DAVIE (56) ó Wooten 21, Steller 19, Gadson 6, Peterson 6, Smith 2, Bohannon 2, Shelton, Bode, Brown, Johnson.
E. Rowan 16 19 16 22 ó 73
Davie 9 11 18 18 ó 56