Prep girls basketball: West Rowan 62, West Iredell 47

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan got big nights from Shay Steele and Nycieko Dixon once again as it defeated upset-minded West Iredell 62-47 Tuesday in an NPC clash.

Dixon hit four second-half 3-pointers and Steele poured in her usual 26-point effort in the first action the Falcons had seen in two weeks. If there’s any chinks in the Falcons’ 15-0 armor, it’s going to get tested as it enters a stretch of six games in two weeks.

“I knew we’d be sloppy,” West Rowan coach Tood McNeely said. “We looked like a team that had been off for two weeks. We’ve just got to get going again.”

The Falcons had to use their muscle to keep a pesky WI team at bay. An Alison Sobataka trey and two buckets from Steele started the game with a buzz that WR would roll but the Warriors actually led 14-11 after the first quarter. Elizabeth Webb hit a big three at the end of the first to give the Warriors the lead. Tatum Boggs and Webb hit shots to give the Warriors their biggest lead at 18-11.

“It affected us in the first half,” Dixon said of the layoff. “We were slow on defense and our shots weren’t falling.”

Dixon finished with 19 points. McNeely substituted every four minutes to keep legs fresh for the future games, which begin tonight when West plays host to North Iredell.

Steele converted a 3-point play to give the Falcons the lead back at 19-18.

“You have to deny her the ball,” West Iredell coach Chante Miller said of Steele. “There’s a lot of stuff we need to work on for our next game with them.”

Marie Coleman hit a layup while being fouled to tie the game but Shanice Miller’s basket at the other end gave WR the lead back at 22-20. Niakeya James drained a three on the next possession and the Falcons led 25-23 at halftime.

After Webb started the second half with a three, Steele gave WR the lead for keeps with a pair of free throws. Khalia Hall drove to the basket and hit a shot 20 seconds later to force a WI timeout.

“I ran the starters pretty hard in the third quarter,” McNeely said. “Once we got some breathing room, we were able to get some fresh legs in there. We’re trying to stay rested for the next two weeks.”

Dixon then took over. The junior guard scored eight points in the Falcons’ 14-0 run. After canning a pair of free throws to make the score 35-27, She hit a trey from the corner to push the advantage to double digits. She hit another one from the same spot two minutes later.

“Usually Alison hits those shots,” Dixon said. “I was hitting them tonight and I was confident throwing them up there.”

WR boasted a 45-33 edge with a quarter to play and Steele got the fourth off to a good start with a steal and a layup. Dixon sealed it with consecutive threes to make it 55-35 with six minutes to go.

“There was some frustration,” said Dixon of the locker room at halftime after leading by just two. “We knew we could do better.”

WI went on a 10-0 spurt late in the game to close within 57-45 with 2:25 left. Steele got a big bucket and James converted a three-point play in the final minute for the exclamation point.

“We definitely could have went out to the corners and played better defense,” Miller said. “But I am proud of our girls.”

Webb led WI (2-10, 1-4) with 19 points.

WEST IREDELL (47) — Webb 19, Summers 8, Boggs 8, Heath 4, Allison 3, Coleman 3, Feimster 2, Morrison.

WEST ROWAN (62) — Steele 26, Dixon 19, James 6, Sobataka 6, Miller 3, Hall 2, Freeze, Cross, Alessandrini, Edwards.

W. Iredell 14 9 10 14 — 47
W. Rowan 11 14 20 17 — 62