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North Rowan girls fall in season opener

By David Shaw

sports@salisburypost.com

SPENCER —Fasten your seat belts, North Rowan girls basketball fans. The Cavaliers’ season is off to a bumpy start.

Visiting Lexington forced 29 turnovers and limited North to nine field goals Thursday night in a hard-to-watch, 55-25 season-opening victory.

“How many teams are playing right now?” second-year North coach Ron Bost questioned. “Real games, right now? The truth is, we’re still gelling. I played five freshman tonight and four of them saw major minutes. As you can see, we’ve got things to build off of.”

The Cavs offered little resistance until the fourth quarter, when freshman forward Makiya McDaniel hit four free throws and a buzzer-beating layup to close the scoring. She and teammate Jaylan Reid finished with six points apiece while McKenzie Shoaf and Tay Taborn contributed five each.

“It felt like it was all coming together by the fourth quarter,” McDaniel said. “I finally knew what I was doing with the ball. And I saw how they were going right every time, so I tried to force them left. It’s a visual thing.”

It was — and not a pretty one. North had no answer for Lexington junior Mikenzie Harvin, a 5-8 forward who topped all scorers with 18 points. An all-CCC pick last winter, she salted the game away with a dizzying scoring spree early in the second half.

“Mikenzie’s very special because she wants to play on the next level,” said fourth-year Lexington coach Toccara Tatum. “She tore her ACL her freshman year and sat out the rest of that year. Since then she’s trying to get the recognition she believes she deserves.”

Harvin turned the gym into a funhouse after Lexington mounted a 24-11 halftime lead. The Yellowjackets kicked off the third period with a 12-2 run — with Harvin netting nine of those points.

“We came back from the locker room and realized we could do a lot better,” she said. “I wanted to be a force, that leader I know I can be. It’s just one game, and we played very well together. But I’m excited to see what the rest of the season brings.”

Two of Harvin’s baskets followed cat-like steals, one was a short jump shot from the left baseline and another was a runaway layup where she motored past North’s ineffective defenders.

“They’d pass the ball to No. 1 (Harvin) and she would score every time,” said McDaniel. “I can’t lie. That girl was just very, very good.”

North trailed 37-13 after three quarters and by 44-13 by the time Lexington finished a 16-0 spurt early in the fourth period. The final five-and-a-half minutes amounted to little more than a Jackets’ victory lap.

“Basically, we just got outplayed and outhustled,” said Reid, a junior who scored North’s only first-quarter basket. “We’re not where we’re supposed to be and just have to get there. We’ve got to look for other players and work as a team. This wasn’t enough, but we’re going to get there.”

Bost can only hope so.

“(Lexington) is better than they have been, but they’re not 25 or 30 points better than we are,” he said. “We scrimmaged them over the summer and it was a lot closer. For us it’s about believing in the offense when the first option isn’t there. We got the shots. We just weren’t making the shots. You’re not gonna win many games making just nine baskets.”

NOTES: North converted only six of 18 free throws, but its defense wasn’t terrible. It forced 21 Lexington turnovers. … Shoaf drilled the Cavs’ only 3-pointer — a bomb from the left side that made it 48-17 with 4:27 remaining. … Former North punter and power forward Tony Morgan was one of the game officials. He’s a 1999 graduate. … North is idle until Nov. 28 when it visits Albemarle.

LEXINGTON (55) — Harvin 18, McIntosh 9, Bray 7, Owens 6, Peoples 6, Rose 4, Hough 4, Rivera 1.

NORTH ROWAN (25) — Reid 6, McDaniel 6, Shoaf 5, Taborn 5, Sherrill 2, Sifford 1, T.Robinson, D.Robinson, Cain, Brown.

Lexington       10    14    13    18 — 55

North Rowan   2     9     2    12 — 25

 

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