Moir Christmas Classic 5th place: East Rowan girls 71, North Rowan 47

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2011

By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — East Rowan coach Danielle Porter said that when Karleigh Wike is aggressive, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Ya think?
North Rowan’s girls basketball team certainly agrees after it was torched by the 6-foot-3 sophomore in East’s 71-47 Wednesday in the fifth-place game of the Moir Christmas Classic at Catawba College.
Wike finished with 30 — count ’em, 30 — points and 27 — count ’em again, 27 — rebounds.
It left Porter almost speechless afterward.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a player score 30 before,” she said.
It probably won’t be the last time. If Wike doesn’t do it again, her comrade underneath, Kelly Fisher, probably will. The 6-2 freshman had 20 points and 16 boards.
Stats don’t lie. Those two accounted for 50 points and 43 rebounds, outscoring the Cavs and matching their rebound total.
“They did a good job of catching the ball and taking it straight to the basket,” North coach Tony Hillian said. “I can see they’ve been working real hard. Hats off to them.”
The really hard work has come from the guards, who are finally realizing if they get it inside, good things will happen. After losing in the first round to Salisbury, East has scored 73 and 71 points.
“We’re the happiest fifth-place team there is,” Porter said with a wide grin. “Our guards are at the point where they’re confident handling the ball and getting it inside.”
The onslaught started immediately. North went 1-for-17 in the first quarter, giving Wike and Fisher plenty of chances to gobble up rebounds. Offensively, the Mustangs just lobbed over the smaller Cavs for easy layups. East led 20-6 with Fisher and Wike combining for 18.
Wike got her 10th rebound two minutes into the second period and by halftime, she had 17 points and 14 boards.
Even better for Porter was that of the 15 first-half baskets, nine were on assists.
East led 38-15 at intermission and Hillian pointed to his team’s 4-for-36 shooting.
“We were a little flat starting out and could never get it going,” he sighed.
The closest North would get in the third was 19, but Wike was simply too dominant. She grabbed her 20th rebound with 1:43 left and scored the last six points of the period for a 52-30 margin.
The prettiest of her buckets was the last, when she got a rebound and scooped up a reverse layup that brought a few oohs and ahhs from the fans on both sides.
When Lindsay Gobble sank a late free throw, East had its biggest lead at 26. It was a confident group of Mustangs who walked out of Goodman Gym.
“This is going to help a ton,” Porter said of leaving the Moir on a two-game winning streak. “They know they can win. I hope the Christmas tournament will turn over a new leaf for us.”

NOTES: Of East’s 43 rebounds, 23 were offensive. Wike had nine. Wike was 12-for-19 from the foul line. … Sabrina Vann led North (4-7) with 11.
EAST ROWAN (71) — Wike 30, Fisher 20, Sides 7, Gullett 5, Brown 4, Poole 2, Fry 2, Gobble 1, Lowe.
NORTH ROWAN (47) — Vann 11, Brown 9, Cuthbertson 8, Robinson 8, Bush 5, Sells 5, Dickerson 1, Bradley, Lingle, Rincon.
E. Rowan 20 18 14 19 — 71
Davie 6 9 15 17 — 47