Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 28, 2013

SALISBURY — Davie County had the size advantage but North Rowan dominated all other phases of the game Friday afternoon at Goodman gym.
The Cavaliers stayed perfect (6-0) with a relentless defensive assault claiming a 50-30 semifinal win over Davie County in the Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
Just how dominant was it for North? It did not score a point in the final 5:12 of the game and still won by 20. The Cavs had 14 steals and forced 20 War Eagle turnovers plus they shot 42 percent from the field.
“It’s just a good team effort,” noted star senior guard Nycieko Dixon, who had 14 points and six steals to lead the win. “It is just like a puzzle where everybody has their own place and it just works.”
The win puts North in the championship game for the first time in seven years and also sets up a battle of unbeatens at 6 p.m. tonight against top seed East Rowan (10-0).
But this is a different kind of North team with unique experiences due to offseason transfers. Dixon was part of last year’s West Rowan championship team that beat a Salisbury squad featuring Virginia Tech signee Brielle Blaire and her sister Ashley. Now all three are together on a dominant North team that features a wealth of talent.
“It means a lot to the seniors on this team and the team as a whole”, Dixon said of the latest title opportunity. “We are at the top and everyone is trying to knock us down.”
Brielle Blaire scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Demeria Robinson had 8 for the winners. Davie center Ashlyn Hampton had 11 points and eight rebounds but often had to contend with a collapsing defense in the middle.
“Their guard play is just so good,” Davie first year coachDave Ruemenapp stated. “They are just so quick and put a lot of pressure on us. We just did not handle that pressure well.”
North sprinted to a 17-5 lead to open the game thanks to six steals and three blocked shots. Davie battled back to trim it to 10 by halftime at 30-20, but North’s Special Washington had a 3-point play to end the third quarter and make the margin 45-26.
The Cavs literally worked on their delay game in the final quarter, outscorng Davie 5-4 and substituting liberally.
North Coach Brian Lytton felt his defense was a key factor. “We are doing a good job on defense although we don’t understand all of our rotations yet,” he said. “But we are playing very hard and doing a good job overall.”
The North defense limited Davie (4-6) to 24 per cent shooting including a mere one for 17 from beyond the arc. The War Eagles will play again this afternoon in the third place game against Salisbury at 3 p.m.
“We are excited to be in the title game,” Lytton said. “It will be a great experience for our players.”
DAVIE (30) — Hampton 11, A. Peebles 6, Peterson 6, C. Peebles 4, Martinez 3, Zaferatos, Bohannon, Jones, Gadson.
NORTH ROWAN (50) — Dixon 14, B. Blaire 12, Robinson 8, Farmer 6, Washington 5, A. Blaire 5, Russell, White.
Davie Co. 5 15 6 4 — 30
No. Rowan 17 13 15 5 — 50