Prep Basketball: East Rowan girls 59, Statesville 31
By David Shaw
STATESVILLE — It’s January and the East Rowan girls basketball team isn’t embarrassed to look at the NPC standings.
Not after the Mustangs won their fourth straight game and squared their league record at 3-3 with a 59-31 romp over visiting Statesville on Friday.
“It’s a lot better than the alternative,” second-year coach Danielle Porter said after East improved to 5-11 overall. “A lot of times you have to lay that infastructure down before you can do anything. It took us a little while to get it working. We had to break a lot of bad habits.”
Halfway through their conference season the Mustangs find themselves in fourth place and contending for a state playoff berth.
“It hasn’t always been like this,” junior guard Steffi Sides beamed. “But we’ve got the fire in our hearts now.”
The Mustangs can credit teammate Karleigh Wike for that. The 6-foot-3 sophomore has single-handedly pumped new life into East’s season. Its once cold-case file has been reopened, thanks to a do-it-all center who has turned the court into her own magic kingdom.
“Actually, we just got tired of losing,” Wike said. “And we realized nobody could do anything about it except us.”
Wike’s numbers against Statesville (0-13, 0-5) spoke volumes: 24 points, 26 rebounds and six blocked shots.
“She’s been playing like that recently,” Porter said. “I think she had similar numbers against North Rowan. She works incredibly hard and knows the right thing to do. Sometimes she over-thinks, but lately she’s allowing her instincts to take over on the floor.”
East punched its way out of a sluggish first quarter. It trailed 8-6 when junior Caroline Fry came off the bench and stuck a 3-pointer from the right corner. Wike added a couple of second-period putbacks to boost the Mustangs to a 29-10 halftime lead.
“They were a lot taller,” said Statesville coach Adrienne Long. “There’s not a whole lot you can do against height. You either have it or you don’t. Once they started using their advantages, there wasn’t much we could do.”
Wike kept the party going with 12 third-quarter points. Her final basket, a putback at the buzzer, capped East’s 9-0 finishing kick.
“We’re all young,” Wike concluded. “Sometimes it takes a while to warm up and figure out what you’re doing. But yeah, we’re a lot better off than where we started.”
STATESVILLE (31) — Wright 14, Hairston 13, Hardig 4.
EAST ROWAN (59) — Wike 24, Poole 11, Fry 10, Lowe 6, Fisher 4, Sides 4, Gobble, Brown, Gullett.
Statesville 8 2 15 6 — 31
E. Rowan 11 18 16 14 — 59