LANDIS — South Rowan girls coach Jarrod Smith is starting to take it personally.
A.L. Brown is now 2-0 against Smith’s Raiders but 0-4 against the rest of the planet. The Wonders overcame 30 points by sophomore Avery Locklear and won 65-51 at South on Friday.
“The only team they hit shots against is us,” Smith groaned.
Smith has a point. Brown has averaged a meager 30 points per game in losses to Mooresville, Lake Norman, East Rowan and Mallard Creek, but the Wonders average a healthy 68.5 ppg against South.
A.L. Brown coach Mike Wolford talked about buying a supply of South jerseys and handing them out to all future opponents, and he was only partly kidding. It might not be a bad idea,
Brown rained 3-pointers against South in Bullock Gym on Nov. 29, and 3s were again decisive in the rematch. Four of Brown’s six 3-balls came in one deadly flurry.
South trailed 22-15 three minutes before halftime, and it was anyone’s game, but then Jennifer Raper hit two 3s back-to-back. Then Megan Shue made one, and Mackenzie Rogers added a long one before halftime to push the green-clad visitors ahead 36-22 at the break.
“The shots started falling and that put momentum on our side,” Wolford said. “South hustled from start to finish and did a good job on the boards, but we made a lot of shots.”
South (3-4) is missing some firepower with Lynsey Corriher sidelined by a knee injury, and that halftime deficit proved too big to overcome.
The Wonders kept scoring in the second half, although they started doing it in a different way. South went man-to-man, and freshman Kyla Downs, Bianca Moody and Aitana Grant drove hard for layups.
“When they were in a zone, we were a shooting team and when they had to go man-to-man we were a driving team,” Raper said.
Grant made three buckets, and Brown shot 7-for-12 in the third to push the Wonders’ lead to 53-36.
“Not to make excuses, but we really missed Lynsey in the post, and Cassidy (Chipman) was playing with a twisted ankle,” Smith said. “The schedule’s not going to get any easier, so some people have to step up.”
Downs, a freshman, and Grant, who missed the first South game with a concussion, scored 13 points each to lead the Wonders.
“Downs is not afraid, and she did a good job of attacking,” Wolford said.
The Wonders’ biggest lead came on a banker by Downs that made it 63-40 with 3:16 remaining.
Locklear, who averages 22.4 points a game, scored 21 of South’s 29 second-half points and she accounted for 100 percent of South’s 15 points in the final quarter.
She had two 30-point games last season, and she scored 43 in a game earlier this season.
“She’s a fantastic player,” Wolford said. “You pick your poison with her. You play her to drive and pray she’s not making 3s.”
Locklear is 0-4 in her career against the Wonders, but managed to stay positive.
“We should’ve done a better job tonight of locking down their shooters,” she said. “But we’ll get it together. The only way we can go is up.”
A.L. BROWN (65) — Downs 13, Grant 13, Shue 9, Moody 7, Raper 6, Rodgers 5, Grier 4, Kituku 3, Chalmers 3, Vernon 2, Alexander.
SOUTH ROWAN (51) — Locklear 30, Chipman 11, Bost 4, Martin 4, Hubbard 1, Honeycutt 1, Davis, Stamey, McClendon, Coley.
A.L. Brown 15 21 17 12 — 65
S. Rowan 7 15 14 15 — 51