GRANITE QUARRY — Sydney Poole said she stayed after school for a little pre-game shooting practice on Monday.
South Rowan paid the price as Poole torched the Raiders for five 3-pointers and 22 points in a 64-38 victory in the first round of the North Piedmont Conference tournament. It sent South (6-18) home and put the Mustangs (15-9) into Wednesday’s semifinal against the host North Iredell at 6 p.m.
Poole was shooting so well, the basket looked as big as pregnant coach Danielle Porter’s belly. (By the way, she’s due in four days).
“This is the best game offensively I’ve seen her play,” Porter said, “which was hard because she was faceguarding Avery the whole game.”
Oh yeah, Poole played some pretty good defense on South’s leading scorer Avery Locklear, who had only three points after three quarters. By that time, East was up 16 and rolling. Locklear finished with just nine.
“She’s a tough player,” Poole said. “I tried to keep her from getting the ball. I could tell she was frustrated.”
South played well in the first half, even without Locklear’s presence. Just when East seemed to be taking control at the end of the first half, baskets by Caroline Hubbard and Kamryn Stamey pulled the Raiders within 29-24 at the half.
But Poole took over in the third, scoring 10 points. She sank two straight layups, and after a Kelli Fisher bucket, two straight threes. That made it 43-27 and it was over.
Coach Jarrod Smith said South did a good job doubling on Fisher and Karleigh Wike (14 points 12 rebounds) but gave East the outside shot.
“You pick your poision,” he said.
Poole made the Raiders pay.
“We’re more multi-dimensional than people like to give us credit for,” Porter said. “We’re playing really competitive basketball right now.”
It was the final game in the East gym for Poole and four other seniors. Casey Gullett had five points and Porter said her defense was a key to the win. Guard Steffi Sides played well. Caroline Fry swished a three. And Lindsay Gobble saw action.
“It was my last game playing here and I wanted to do my best,” Poole said. “It’s sad. I hate it has to come to an end.”
Maybe the end of home games but not the season. There’s still a chance at a championship later this week.
SOUTH ROWAN (38) —Chipman 13, Locklear 9, Hubbard 5, Martin 4, Bost 3, McClendon 2, Kam Stamey 2, Figuroa, Davis.
EAST ROWAN (64) — Poole 22, Wike 14, Fisher 10, Amani 8, Gullett 5, Fry 3, Thomas 2, Gobble.
S. Rowan 11 13 5 9 — 38
E. Rowan 9 20 16 19 — 64