STATESVILLE — As they have done so many times this season, West Rowan used the one-two punch of Shay Steele and Nycieko Dixon to bring down an opponent.
West Iredell was the victim this time, as a second quarter outburst led to an 86-59 rout for the Falcons. Steele and Dixon combined for 32 of the team’s 45 first half points to lead the breakaway and secure a shot at a first place in the NPC.
The Falcons (10-2, 21-2) found them selves in a tussle early in the second quarter as a three by Warrior guard Kelsey Morrison closed the home team to within 21-15. West Rowan led by as many as 12 in the early going but lost its shooting touch for a stretch.
“I changed up our defense a little bit there,” Falcon Coach Todd McNeely said. “They were coming off their screens good and we weren’t moving our feet. They started missing their jumpers and we took off from there.”
It was more like a blast-off for the Falcons after the lead was trimmed to six. They put together scoring runs of 13 and then 10 in a row to build the lead to 45-19 by halftime. Dixon had a three and two layups while the senior center Steele scored three layups and added three free throws in the spurt. As a result, the second half was mostly academic although the Warriors did post 27 fourth quarter points mostly against subs.
“Coach always says defense is the most important thing”, Steele said after a 31-point, 15-rebound night led the team. “Now we are hoping to make it far in the playoffs because we have worked hard and deserve it.”
Dixon notched 21 points including three treys and Quanice Miller added 10. West Iredell (2-10, 3-16) was led by Elizabeth Webb with 17 and Tatum Boggs with 15.
“I think we have made progress this season”, Warrior coach Chante Miller noted. “We just have to work harder and get better.”
Meanwhile, many West players and followers plan a road trip to North Iredell tonight to see their showdown with Carson. Depending on the outcome, West could be in a three-way tie for first or finish in second alone. State playoff seedings are also at stake.
WEST ROWAN (86) —Steele 31, Dixon 21, Q. Miller 10, Sobataka 8, S. Miller 5, Hall 4, Gibbons 3, James 2, Cross 2, Freeze, Alessandrini, Edwards.
WEST IREDELL (59) — Webb 17, Boggs 15, Summers 12, Snouse 5, Heath 5, Allison 3, Morrison 2, Feimster , Coleman,
W. Rowan 21 24 21 20 — 86
W. Iredell 13 6 13 27 — 59