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Prep girls basketball: West ends skid by beating East Rowan

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — If you’re East Rowan girls coach Kevin Holland, pilot of a 4-17 team that is likely to end its season next week, you’re looking for baby steps in the right direction.

He saw some in Tuesday’s 61-48 South Piedmont Conference loss to West Rowan.

Sophomore forward Lauren Coughenour and sophomore guard Maddie Trexler, to name two, are different players than they were a month ago.

“Lauren gives us so much hustle, and she’s starting to get a lot of rebounds,” Holland said. “Maddie is the best we have on defense at anticipating where a pass is going.”

East (1-14 SPC) just struggles mightily to score. They’ve failed to top 30 points in 11 games. When the Mustangs put up 20 in the final quarter on Tuesday, there were no balloons or fireworks, but it marked a mini-milestone.

“The first time all season that we’ve scored 20 in a quarter,” Holland said.

Say this for the Mustangs, they haven’t quit and have no plans to. They were down 23 against the more talented Falcons, but wound up losing by 13.  The Harrison sisters, junior Hollie and freshman Adalie, combined for 25 points. Hollie’s right arm was absolutely ablaze in the second half. She scored all 15 of her points after halftime.

“I know it’s been a frustrating season for Hollie,” Holland said. “It was great to see her move past it and play like that.”

West (12-7, 7-6 SPC) just needed a win after back-to-back-to-back losses to three of the SPC’s top four teams. West managed to get it, with Abigail Wilson (15), Mary Sobataka (14) and Egypt Alexander (14) scoring in double figures.

“We came out slow,” Alexander said. “It seemed like we made about 10 turnovers in five seconds. But then we started making better passes and when we did that, we got layups.”

Sobataka has been in a three-game shooting slump but snapped out of it by by scoring seven early points.

“Mary’s shooting has been off lately, but her defense has been there for us all season,” West coach Ashley Poole said.

Both teams started slowly.

“We were missing the chip shots that we’ve got to make,” Poole said.

West led, 17-11, after Gabby Blabon hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter and expanded the lead to 36-17 at halftime. West post players Wilson and Alexander did almost all of the damage for the Falcons in the decisive second quarter, combining for 14 points in the period.

“It’s just difficult for us to defend West in the post,” Holland said.

When Sobataka opened the second half with a 3-pointer, West was up by 22 points.

Then Hollie Harrison heated up, but the Falcons stayed ahead by a safe distance thanks to a couple of three-point plays by Alexander.

“I’ve learned how to go up strong every time,” Alexander said with a smile. “If I don’t, I might get yelled at.”

Alexander, a junior who has scored in double figures every game this season, moved closer to 1,000 career points, finishing her evening with 972.

While West hosts undefeated Hickory Ridge today, the Mustangs will practice and try to get a little better. It’s been a tough season for a program that’s experienced a lot of recent success, but they’re handling it with their heads up.

“We had some opportunities to quit tonight,” Holland said. “But we fought it out.”

WEST ROWAN (61) — Wilson 15, Sobataka 14, Alexander 14, Poole 7, Connolly 6, Blabon 3, Fesperman 2, Robinson, Hillie, Vaughters, Pruitt.

EAST ROWAN (48) — H. Harrison 15, A. Harrison 10, Trexler 8, Coughenour 7, Shafer 4, Wagner 4, Winford, McCall, Houpe, Honeycutt, Graham.

W. Rowan               17   19    7   18—  61
E. Rowan                11     6   11  20 — 48

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