LANDIS — When it came to crunch time, a solid team effort by South Rowan proved to be no match for the singular domination of North Iredell center Brook Redmond.
North (2-0, 7-5) squeezed out a tense 47-40 win at South Friday night by feeding it to the 6-foot Redmond over and over down the stretch. The reigning North Piedmont Conference player of the year responded with 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
In a game that featured six lead changes in the first half and a big South rally in the third period, the outcome was fittingly decided by costly turnovers by the losers and free throw accuracy by the winners.
South (0-3, 3-10) trailed by as many as eight in the third but battled all the way back to lead 32-31 heading into the fourth on a steal and lay-up by Carolina Hubbard.
But the host Raiders turned it over inside then were called for traveling twice to open the fourth quarter. At the same time Redmond was hitting 5 of 6 foul shots then Stacey Lunsford nailed a long three to put the visitors ahead for good 41-34 with 4:40 left to play. South got as close as 43-40 in the final two minutes but a weave offense and four of four free throw shooting by Mariah Johnson secured the win.
“You can’t fault our effort tonight,” South Coach Jarrod Smith stated, “ but we have got to find ways to close out games. We played hard the entire game, we played physical and we did not back down but we hurt ourselves down the stretch.”
For North Iredell coach Bradley Gabriel, the game strategy and was simple and to the point: give the ball to Brook Redmond as often as possible.
“At halftime and especially in the fourth quarter I almost said we don’t shoot the ball unless she shoots it. “ Gabriel said. “We just told her to post up and she really got going.”
Noting that it was his team’s first road victory of the season, Gabriel was happy to just get a key NPC win. “We didn’t play well but an ugly win is better than a pretty loss any day of the week.”
Cassidy Chipman was equally as deadly for South in the game as she notched 22 points, including 13 in the tight second half. Yet she was more interested in team results. “All in all it doesn’t matter what I score, “ she said. “I just need our team to play together.”
Avery Locklear was below her 20 point average with just eight for South. Lunsford with 11 and Johnson with 10 aided the North effort.
NORTH IREDELL (47) — B. Redmond 21, Lunsford 11, Johnson 10, Fox 7, Cartner 6, R. Redmond, Tomlin.
SOUTH ROWAN (40) — Chipman 22, Locklear 8, Hubbard 4, Martin 2, McClendon 2, Bost 2, Kam Stamey ,
N. Iredell 6 16 9 16 — 47
S. Rowan 7 10 15 8 — 40
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