GRANITE QUARRY — After a frustrating 0-2 start to the new season, the East Rowan Mustangs got well in impressive fashion Friday night.
The inside attack was clicking on almost every cylinder for East as they overwhelmed visiting Hickory Ridge 61-21 in a non-conference contest. With 6-4 junior Karleigh Wike and 6-3 center Kelli Fisher leading the charge, East (1-2) pulled out to a 14 point halftime lead. It found another gear in the third period to pull away to a 30-point margin that expanded even more in the final frame.
Wike had the impressive numbers with 13 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots but she was quick to spread the credit around.
“Our guards did a great job of getting the ball up the floor and inside to me. “ she said. “I did miss a bunch of shots that I shouldn’t have but I am working on that.”
The final 40-point margin could have been much worse if East had not misfired on on a substantial number of point-blank shots. It was still significantly better than the Raging Bulls offense. The visitors (0-2) managed only three field goals for the night including a single basket in the second half. Hitting 14 of 27 foul shots helped make the score more respecatble.
“I definitely felt like our girls competed,” Bulls coach Tolanda Simmons said. “ We had some good looks but the shots just would not fall. It was one of our worst shooting nights ever.”
Simmons noted her team is young and has a lot of new faces in the mix this season. “We just have to get all the pieces to come together.”
She also credited the strong inside game of the Mustangs with setting the tone for the game.
“I don’t think we will see a team that big again this season, “ she said. “At least, I hope we don’t.”
In addition to Wike’s big night, Fisher popped in 10 points up close while guards Lindsay Gobble and Sydney Poole had eight each with some nice long-range shots.
Winning coach Danielle Porter liked the balance of her team’s attack in the win.
“That’s what we are looking for is a balanced inside out game and being a multi-dimensional team.”
Getting that first win of the new season was a nice feeling as well after a pair of relatively close losses.
“It is great to have that monkey off our back, “Porter said. “Now we have a little confidence and can continue on from here.”
The Mustangs do turn right around and play A.L. Brown at home tonight and on Thursday so they have little time to enjoy their first win.
Porter echoed Wike’s concern about the number of close shots that just would not fall for the Mustangs.
“That is one thing we are working on is finishing at the basket,” Porter noted. “We did a much better job tonight against their physical play but we still need to improve.”
HICKORY RIDGE (21) — Davis 11, McManimen 5, Evans 2, Ratlliffe 1, Miller 1, Smother 1, McClendon, Wallace.
EAST ROWAN(61) — Wike, 13, Fisher 10, Gobble 8, Poole 8, Ajayi 7, Thomas 5, Sides 4, Gullett 4, Lowe 2, Fry.
H. Ridge 7 5 4 5 — 21
E. Rowan 12 14 18 14 — 61