SALISBURY — North Rowan wanted to win with quickness.
East Rowan wanted to win with height.
Height won out in East’s 61-54 victory in the fifth-place game of the Moir Christmas Classic Saturday at Catawba.
Brian Lytton’s scrappy Cavaliers came up with 13 steals, but the Mustangs’ inside duo of 6-foot-4 Karleigh Wike and 6-2 Kelli Fisher offset that with a combined 35 points and 30 rebounds.
Asked how to combat the twin towers, Lytton smiled, “If you know, let me know. You get extra possessions with offensive rebounds and East gets lots of those. We tried to get extra possessions with lots of steals.”
East (9-4) did enough to get it to Wike at the right times. She finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, five on the offensive glass. Fisher was even better, grabbing eight offensive.
Lytton’s strategy worked during the first half. The Cavs were tied at 17 after one and were down only 32-31 at the half. Wike had a double-double by then with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
East coach Danielle Porter knows she’s going to get that every game, but she pointed to freshman point guard Jocelyn Lowe as the real key.
“I told Coach (Amanda) Paffrath at halftime that without her, this would be a 20-point loss,” Porter said. “Having someone with vision who controls the ball and sees up the floor at the same time is how you break the press. She’s been a real asset. That’s what we lacked.”
North (4-4) went cold at the start of the third quarter, missing its first nine shots and that’s where the Cavs lost the game. Wike scored on a hook and Lauren Thomas nailed a 3. When Sydney Poole sank a layup, East was suddenly up 42-31 and basically held on from that point.
North cut the lead to five twice in the fourth behind Special Washington, who scored nine of her 19 points in the frame. But four free throws by Lowe and one each by Poole and Steffi Sides thwarted the rally.
“We made a game of it in the fourth,” Lytton said. “They made some turnovers, but not as many as we wanted. I’ve got to give East Rowan credit. They handled our pressure well.”
NOTES: North’s Demeria Robinson had 16 points, five assists and three assists. … Poole added nine points for East.
NORTH ROWAN (54) — Washington 19, Robinson 16, Farmer 6, Sells 4, Carter 3, Royer 2, Allen 2, Lingle 2, Smith.
EAST ROWAN (61) — Wike 25, Fisher 10, Poole 9, Thomas 7, Lowe 4, Sides 3, Ajayi 2, Fry 1, Gullett.
N. Rowan 17 14 9 14 — 54
E. Rowan 17 15 17 12 — 61