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Girls basketball: South Rowan girls lose 63-60 at Crest

Staff report

SHELBY —  A season and an era ended for South Rowan’s girls with a 63-60 loss at Crest on Monday in the second round of the 3A state playoffs.

South Rowan’s seniors, a class that includes the school’s all-time leading scorer Avery Locklear and 1,000-point scorer Cassidy Chipman, finished their careers in a real struggle at Ed Peeler Gymnasium.

“I know they’ll hold their heads up,” South Rowan coach Jarrod Smith said. “They rebuilt this program. They brought pride back. They had people coming to the gym to watch the South girls play because everyone knew this group had a chance to beat anybody.”

South Rowan (18-7) trailed the Chargers (22-2) by 15 points in the first half and had to play much of the game without Chipman, who injured an ankle in the second quarter. But the Raiders nearly pulled it out.

“It was a physical game — I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything quite like it,” Smith said.

With Chipman hurt, Locklear had to score even more than usual, but she was up to it. Even with Crest going to a box-and-one defense, Locklear scored 29 points.

Sylvetta Bost scored 10 points for South, followed by Kayla McClendon’s nine points. Malaysia Williams added seven points and the injured Chipman followed with four.  Beth Ann Martin also added a point for the Raiders.

When Locklear made two technical free throws, South Rowan pushed within 57-55, and the Raiders tied the game, 57-all, when Locklear made a stick-back with 2:09 remaining.

Bost hit a driving shot with 31 seconds left to get South Rowan within 61-60. Amber Mintz made a free throw with 10.7 seconds left for a 62-60 Crest lead, and after Locklear missed a driving shot, Olivia Howell got the rebound and made a free throw with less than a second left.

A’Diyah “Tinkerbell” Ussery and Caleia Jones had 20 points each for Crest, while Se’Dasia Love had 15. Crest advances to play at Weddington (27-1.)

Locklear, who will play at UNC Pembroke next year, finished her career with 1,795 points, while Chipman finished sixth in South Rowan history with 1,132 points.

“It was a special class, a special team,” Smith said. “They’re the only girls basketball team in Rowan County that’s won a (conference) championship this season.”

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