Moir girls semifinal: East Rowan sharp in win over Blue Devils
SALISBURY — A lengthy fire-alarm delay was the biggest obstacle for East Rowan’s girls in a Sam Moir Christmas Classic semifinal Monday.
There was no fire, except maybe in the hot hands of Kelli Fisher and Shennell Pharr. They scored 16 points each to pace the Mustangs to a solid 58-40 victory.
An altercation on the concourse, not in the gym, led to the alarm going off. When sirens wailed and lights flashed, East Rowan had already sprinted to a 14-2 lead with a triangle-and-two defense that slowed down guard Amber Sherrill and forward Ashley Cullen and handcuffed the Blue Devils.
Sherrill managed 12 points. Cullen had 13 rebounds.
“We kept their big scorers under control,” East Rowan senior Amani Ajayi said. “That’s always the first team goal.”
Top-seeded East Rowan (10-1) meets sixth-seeded North Rowan (5-3) at 6 p.m. in the girls championship final. The Mustangs lost 71-40 to the Cavaliers a year ago, but this should be tremendous game.
“We’re a different team, and they’re a different team.” Ajayi said.
The Mustangs were so proficient offensively and defensively for the first 13 minutes that they built a 30-9 lead against the fourth-seeded Blue Devils (6-4).
“Our defense rattled them some early,” East Rowan coach Danielle Porter said. “I hated we had that delay because it gave them a chance to adjust.”
Mooresville had a run late in the first half keyed by two 3-pointers by reserve Carlee Brawley and climbed within 30-17 at the break.
The Mustangs held Mooresville to 19.7-percent shooting from the field and the Blue Devils only made half of their free throws.
“We had four starters shoot 6-for-41, and that was because we didn’t take the shots we needed to be taking,” Mooresville coach Andy Sparks said. “We just never found a rhythm.”
East Rowan isn’t known for outside shooting, but the Mustangs made five 3-pointers. Jocelyn Lowe hit one early, and Pharr and Ajayi hit two apiece.
“I hit some I didn’t think I’d hit,” Ajayi said with a laugh.
MOORESVILLE (40): Sherrill 12, A. Cullen 8, Brawley 6, Schneider 5, Ingram 4. Borlase 2, Vanhoy 2, Padgett 1, T. Cullen, Boyles, Zalepka.
EAST ROWAN (58): Shenell Pharr 16, Fisher 16, Ajayi 10, J. Lowe 7, Shenique Pharr 5, Troutman 2, Wagner 2, S. Lowe, Drew, Benge .
Mooresville 5 12 15 8 — 40
East Rowan 15 15 20 8 — 58