KANNAPOLIS — You can live by the 3-point line or die by it, and A.L. Brown’s girls lived large on Thursday at Bullock Gym.
Six of Brown’s seven 3-pointers came in one amazing flurry in the third quarter, as the Wonders erased a 10-point deficit and pulled away for a 72-52 victory. The Wonders outscored South 49-26 in the second half.
“The 3-pointers started going in and we all got excited, “ said Megan Shue who buried the 3-ball that put the Wonders ahead to stay. “Then our offense carried over to our defense.”
Cassidy Chipman scored 18 points to lead the Raiders (1-2). Avery Locklear had a tough night, scoring only three of her 13 after halftime. Brown (1-1) got lots of points from a lot of people, with Shue scoring 16, Bianca Moody and Mackenzie Rogers getting 14 apiece, and Jennifer Raper adding 10.
“A lot of people who have been role players played big tonight,” A.L. Brown coach Mike Wolford said.
The Wonders expect to have Ataina Grant (concussion) back next week and are optimistic Aaliyah Spears (knee) can return in January. Those two figure to be their top two scorers.
“I can’t tell you how big it was for our confidence to get this victory tonight,” Wolford said. “Our pre-Christmas schedule is really tough, and I didn’t want to get off to a bad start.”
The Wonders led 23-19 late in the first half, but that’s when South had its best stretch.
Chipman and Locklear hit 3s as the Raiders scored the last 10 points of the half to take a 29-23 lead at the break.
When Chipman scored four more in a hurry to begin the second half, South led by 10, and Moody, who supplies a lot of the Wonders’ energy and bounce, was headed to the bench with four fouls.
It looked bleak for the home team, but that’s when the 3s started raining from the wings.
“Our last three practices have been all defense, but we didn’t do what we’ve been told to do,” South coach Jarrod Smith. “We didn’t rotate, we didn’t communicate, and we didn’t close out on shooters. We’ve got to play better defense or this will keep happening.”
Raven Phifer’s three-point play off an offensive rebound stopped South’s run. Then Raper hit a 3, and then Rodgers hit one, and then Shue hit the 3-pointer that put the Wonders ahead 35-34.
A 3-pointer by Caroline Hubbard pulled South within 43-42 late in the quarter, but a driving layup by Rodgers and a 3-pointer by Talethia Alexander kept Brown in front.
Making 14 of 18 free throws, the Wonders outscored South 24-6 in the fourth quarter.
“We battled through the bad stretches,” Wolford said. “And we made our good run last a long time.”
SOUTH ROWAN (52) — Chipman 18, Locklear 13, Hubbard 7, Corriher 4, Martin 4, Honeycutt 2, Coley 2, McClendon 2, Stamey.
A.L. BROWN(72) — Shue 16, Moody 14, Rodgers 14, Raper 10, Phifer 9, Kituku 4, Alexander 3, Vernon 2 .
S. Rowan 10 19 17 6 — 52
A.L. Brown 9 14 25 24 — 72