Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 5, 2013
SPENCER — North Rowan zoomed its way past Chatham Central in a fashion it’s going to have to get used to if it wants to be successful in the Yadkin Valley Conference.
The Cavaliers edged their guests 43-37 behind 18 points from sophomore Demeria Robinson and forced 24 turnovers to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss to South Davidson.
“They play tough defense and they’re really quick,” Chatham Central coach Gerald Binkley said. “That’s what you expect when you play them. Their quickness bothered us.”
The win moved the Cavs (5-5, 5-1) back to .500 and kept them in the thick of the YVC race. North led throughout much of the game until Chatham tied it at 36 with under three minutes left.
With North holding a 37-36 lead with two minutes to play, Tre Allen blocked a three-point attempt from Alli Maness and scored on the other end. It was a clutch play for a youthful squad still learning how to win.
“That was huge,” North coach Brian Lytton said. “I was proud of our girls for pulling together and the play that Tre made was tremendous.”
Robinson hit four free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
“I was practicing my free throws all week,” Robinson said. “I had to change my form because it wasn’t working out.”
Playing without starter Special Washington, the Cavs looked comfortable early on as they gained a 14-5 lead. They hit just 3 of 20 field goals in the second half as Chatham crawled back in it, down 23-19 at the half.
“We continue to struggle to make easy shots and I think a lot of that is our youth,” Lytton said.
Robinson hit two free throws and Aliyah Farmer hit her only basket to put North up 27-21. Amber Carter pushed the Cavs’ edge to 29-23.
North’s Anna Lingle, who finished with 12 points, hit a jumper from the corner to start the fourth quarter. She hit another jumper a minute later and a Taylor Sells nailed a running one-hander to give North a 35-28 with five minutes left.
The Bears chipped at the lead with three straight buckets and tied it on Jordan Culberson’s steal and layup with 2:38 left.
Robinson came up big on the ensuing possession by drawing a foul and giving the Cavs the lead back. Allen’s steal and layup made it 39-36. Culberson got fouled and hit one of two free throws before Chatham got a steal and called timeout with 1:06 left. The Bears never got a good look and couldn’t get any more points.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities,” Binkley said. “We never got a good look late. We also missed some big ones.”
Robinson connected on both free throw opportunities with 44 and 5.8 seconds left.
“She’s a tremendous shooter,” Lytton said of Robinson. “Once she gets the focus that she needs and the decision making she’s going to be one of the best guards in the county.”
CHATHAM CENTRAL (37) — K. Moody 10, Cole 7, Culberson 6, E. Moody 5, Maness 5, Hudson 4, Brown, Lytton, Cotton, Batten.
NORTH ROWAN (43) — Robinson 18, Lingle 12, Allen 5, Sells 2, Farmer 2, Carter 2, Royer 2, Smith.
Chatham C. 9 10 7 11 — 37
N. Rowan 14 9 6 14 — 43