GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan thrives with their inside attack but what center Kelli Fisher did last night to North Stanly was at another level altogether.
The 6-3 sophomore dominated the lane for 14 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in the third period alone to propel East to a 61-45 non- conference win over the Comets.
“I decided I actually needed to play in the second half,” Fisher said. “I knew I needed to step up and help the team so that is what I tried to do.”
After an invisible first half with no points and two fouls, Fisher’s second half outburst enabled East (5-2) to expand a tenuous 22-13 lead to a more comfortable 43-25 margin late in the third period. She finished the night with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“I pleaded with the team at halftime for someone to come alive for us,” East Coach Danielle Porter said. “I told Kelli that she is capable of doing so much if she would put her body into her shot and that is what she did.”
Fisher had plenty of help as the Mustangs built their lead to as much as 24 points at 49-25 early in the final quarter. Forward Karleigh Wike (6-4)added 10 points and 15 rebounds to compliment the inside domination. Point guard Steffi Sides had a strong game in penetrating the Comet 2-3 zone in the second half and coming up with some key steals.
“Steffi has been very consistent for us and she is really our spark.” Porter said. “ That is what we desperately need.”
A scrambling defense led by Sides, Lauren Thomas and the inside duo of Fisher and Wike produced a lot of turnovers but also held the Comets’ top two scorers under double figures. Guard Gentry Grubb came in averaging over 22 points per game but managed only nine against East. Jenni Speight was held 10 points under her average with 8.
“They were just too big and we had no answer for that,” Comet Coach Greg Speight said. “ When they are bigger and taller than you, that is not a good combination. We just struggled to score.”
North Stanly (4-4) did get a fourth period spark off their bench from junior Guard Hailey Chandler. She rained in four long range three pointers to cut the East margin to as low as 14 at 56-42 with three minutes left. But key free throws by Wike down the stretch and a couple of lay-ups by Fisher held the visitors at bay.
“We came in here wanting to win tonight, Fisher stated. “and we did whatever it took to win.”
East now must turn right around tonight to face county rival Salisbury at home, hoping to avenge an an early season close loss.
N. STANLY (45) — Chandler 12, Grubb 9, Speight 8, Huff 6, A. Poolos 6, Hart 3, Beadle 1, Fesperman, J. Poolos.
E. ROWAN (61) — Fisher 19, Wike 10, Sides 8, Poole 6, Ajayi 6, Lowe 5, Thomas 4, Gobble 3, Fry, Gullett.
N. Stanly 6 7 12 20 — 45
E. Rowan 9 13 26 13 — 61