Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

MT. ULLA — Part two of the North Piedmont conference showdown for first place went to North Iredell last night.
Rallying from 10 points down in the second half, the Raiders knocked West Rowan from the ranks of the unbeaten, 48-40 and kept themselves in the hunt for the NPC title.
Just 24 hours earlier the Raiders (5-1, 9-6) dropped a close battle at Carson for their first NPC loss so they knew last night’s game at top ranked West Rowan (15-1, 4-1) was a must win situation.
“It was not the ideal thing to do playing Carson then the number one team in the state back to back on the road,” North Iredell coach Bradley Gabriel said, “But we responded. I told the team it was a heck of a win, enjoy it but not be satisfied.”
The Falcons broke out to a 10 point lead at the half behind the strong inside play of Shay Steele and Khaila Hall. They held the margin for a brief time in the third , before North roared back with solid defense and the inside play of Brooke Redmond and Lacey Fox.
“We were confused, jumbled up and lost in that third quarter,” stated junior forward Quanice Miller. “but we played our hardest.”
The Raiders edged ahead 36-33 after three periods as West had only six points for the quarter. By midway in the final period, NI led 43-35 and were able to hold off the Falcons down the stretch.
“We just had a bad third quarter”, West coach Todd McNeeley said. “Everything we did well in the first half we quit doing in the second half.”
Gabriel credited the shutdown defense of freshman Abby Tomlin against West star Steele. While leading West with 13, Steele managed only 4 in the decisive second half.
Redmond overcame foul problems to lead North with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Fox added 12, with 10 in the lasthalf
“We will bounce back and start another streak,” McNeely said.

NORTH IREDELL (48) — Redmond 15, Fox 12, Johnson 11, Cartner 8, Lunsford 2, Tomlin, Moore.
WEST ROWAN (40) — Steele 13, Dixon 11, Hall 1, Q. Miller 4, Sobataka 1, S. Miller, James, Freeze.

North Iredell 11 6 19 12 — 48
West Rowan 13 14 6 7 — 40