Prep Basketball: North, West girls home for third round
By Mike London
North Rowan’s girls basketball team received some good news — an unexpected home game in the third round of the 2A playoffs.
East Burke, a No. 13 seed, knocked off No. 4 Mountain Heritage, 53-40, in a game that was postponed Thursday and played on Friday. That upset set up a meeting tonight in Spencer at 7 p.m. between two sets of Cavaliers — East Burke and No. 12 seed North Rowan.
North Rowan pulled off its own road upset on Thursday, winning 47-46 at No. 5 seed North Wilkes.
“It was such a long ride that I slept on the way up there,” North’s Aundrea Godfrey said. “It was a tough game. They had big girls. But we won.”
North Rowan (19-7) also had to survive a tough game in the first round, beating Franklin, 50-48, at home.
East Burke (21-9) built a big lead and beat Salisbury, 53-38, at home in its first-round game.
North, competing the third round for the first time since 2005 when it had Sophilia Hipps and Shemieka Brown in the backcourt, has an advantage in terms of rest. East Burke not only played Friday on the road, it has to travel from Icard (that’s west of Hickory) to play North.
East Burke has an unusual team in that no individual averages double figures. It’s a balanced team. There’s no one person or two persons for North to try to stop.
Junior post Kieran Smith averages 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds and is the leader statistically. Junior point guard Savannah Coble averages 8.4 points. Freshman guard Sydney Bowman averages 7.1 points. Sophomore forward Mackenzie Crump averages 7.0 points, and junior post Reece Davis averages 6.8.
Like East Burke, North plays relatively low-scoring, defensive-minded games. This one will probably be played in the 50s or even the 40s.
Senior forward Aliyah Farmer averages 16.5 points per game for North and is up to 981 points for her career. Senior guard Special Washington, a 1,000-point scorer, averages 15.1 points.
Junior Brianna White (8.7 ppg.), who missed the conference tournament with illness, has provided a big lift in the playoffs with her rebounding. Senior Tre Allen is a defensive demon, and North also gets defense and points from Godfrey, a junior who averages 6.7 points per game.
No. 1 seed East Davidson is expected to be the next opponent for the winner of this game. Three of North’s losses were to East Davidson, and North’s only losses since Christmas were inflicted by East Davidson.
Three of North’s losses have been against 4A teams.
West Rowan’s girls will be taking on one of the state’s top 3A teams tonight at home at 6:30 p.m. This is the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup. Both teams have taken care of business in the first two rounds. Weddington overwhelmed Burns, 82-56, and pounded North Gaston, 71-43.
West romped 67-22 against Robinson and handled Ledford, 79-60.
Neither team has lost in 2016.
West Rowan (27-2) has won 19 in a row on its way to a school record for wins in a season. Both of West’s losses came in the Dale’s Sporting Goods Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
Weddington (25-2) has won 16 in a row since losing to Wilson, S.C., in a Christmas tournament in Florence. Weddington’s only other loss was in November to 4A Ardrey Kell.
Ardrey Kell is 23-6, while Wilson is 22-4, so Weddington didn’t lose to any slouches.
Weddington will have a serious height advantage against the Falcons with 6-foot-1 junior Remi Roberts and 6-0 senior Molly Mann. Roberts, a great athlete who also excels in soccer, averages 14.4 points and 9.0 rebounds. Mann averages 12.2 points per game.
Erin Addison, a 5-5 sophomore guard, averages 12.5 points for the Warriors. Taylor Schuster, a 5-6 senior guard, averages 9.2 per game.
These are high-powered girls teams. West averages 63 points, while Weddington averages 60. This game is likely to be played in the 60s or even the 70s.
West Rowan is in the third round for the first time since 2004 when it had Rashonda Mayfield and Brittany Roberson, among others. West reached the regional that season.
West usually gets double-figure scoring from seniors Taylor Martin and Khaila Hall, the South Piedmont Conference Player of the Year, and almost 20 points per game from sophomore Egypt Alexander. Senior Shanice Miller and freshman Mary Sobataka had big games in the second round of the playoffs.
Weddington lost once at home and once at a neutral site, so it has a perfect record in road games. West hasn’t lost a home game. Something will have to give tonight.
The winner is likely to be on the road at Morganton Freedom for Round 4, although North Iredell will try to upset the top-seeded and undefeated Patriots tonight.
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