Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2013
GRANITE QUARRY — As the basketball season progresses and the East Rowan girls continue to rack up one impressive win after another, it’s suddenly clear that they have a lot of different ways to beat you.
“We are well-balanced with good guard play, good inside play and great defense,” Coach Danielle Porter said.
The latest victim to learn that lesson was the West Rowan Falcons who came to East Thursday night and left with a 63-45 South Piedmont league defeat.
“One thing we have this year is that we are playing as a team and want to make each other better” stated senior center Karleigh Wike, whose 17 points and 22 rebounds was a definite highlight for East.
The win kept the East season perfect at 9-0 and 6-0 in conference. It also secured it the top seed in the upcoming Sam Moir Christmas tournament at Catawba next week. The young West Rowan team fell to 2-7, 1-4 and will also be in the Moir event, but likely as the bottom seed.
The balance of the East team also included another offensive explosion by 6-3 junior forward Kelli Fisher with 20 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Jocelyn Lowe directed the attack while contributing seven points and an unexpected nine rebounds.
The Mustangs’ defense also was impressive as they held West to five points in the second quarter while building a 35-17 lead. Part of the strategy was to bird dog Falcon star player Khaila Hall and make her earn her points. Hall finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for West but most of that came in the second half when the Mustangs were building and holding a 20 point lead.
Guard Taylor Martin had a solid game for West with 16 points but she and Hall were the only Falcons in double figures with only four players scoring.
West was limited to just 28 per cent shooting from the field while East was a more respectable 42 per cent. A primary reason was the continued offensive firepower displayed by Fisher. Earlier this week she scored a career high 25 at NW Cabarrus then followed it with her 20 against West on 9 of 15 shooting.
“I think I am just focusing more on trying to finish around the basket and using my body more to create shots,” Fisher noted.
Her coach was more glowing in her praise of Fisher. “She has earned every bit of what she is doing,” Porter stated, “She worked her butt off in the offseason, in the weight room and with her conditioning. She has been training like crazy.”
West Rowan’s first year coach Ashley Poole was asked to reveal how to prepare for a team with the twin tower presence of Fisher and Wike. “You don’t,” she said with a grin. “We actually wanted to rely on our outside shooting and try to get some long rebounds but that didn’t work out either.”
West came in a bit shorthanded with only 10 players and two of their regulars unavailable in Shanice Miller and Berkley Alessandrini.
“I am really not unhappy with our team play tonight, Poole said. “We are taking baby steps because we are awful young. But we played hard throughout.”
East, meanwhile, will now prepare for the upcoming Moir Christmas tournament and the first round bye that comes with being the top seed.
“That is really one of our goals is to win the Christmas tournament as well as our conference,” Porter stated. “And I think we have a good shot if we can play like we have and keep getting better.”
WEST ROWAN (45) — Hall 20, Martin 167, Q. Miller 7, Cowan 2, Goddard, Lovell, Greene, Yow, McNeeley.
EAST ROWAN (63) — Fisher 20, Wike 17, Shenell Pharr 11, Lowe 7, Ajayi 4, Sheniq. Pharr 4, Drew, Lambert, Benge,.
West Rowan 12 5 14 14 — 45
East Rowan 21 14 16 12 — 63