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West Rowan girls rout North Stanly in tournament opener

By Marny Hendrick

sports@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — West Rowan broke out a new pressure defense Thursday morning in the opener of the Dale’s/Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Goodman Gym.

The North Stanly girls probably wish the Falcons had waited until later.

Third-seeded West (9-1) produced 18 steals, 26 turnovers and a lot of easy buckets in blitzing the Lady Comets, 81-22, setting the stage for a lot tougher semifinal match-up this afternoon (3:00) against Carson, the No. 2 seed.

North Stanly (3-7) was making its first appearance in the 46th annual Moir Classic, but it was not very memorable for them. West blitzed to a 25-4 first period lead, with its new half-court pressure, resulting in eight steals and a block.  By halftime, it was 50-20 and by the late third quarter the score ballooned to 62-42, resulting in a running clock the rest of the way.

“We just wanted to set the tempo early in the game and get on the board quickly,” said West coach Ashley Poole. “With our history in this tournament, it was good to get that kind of win for a change.”

The bulk of the credit for the West victory has to go to 5-11 sophomore forward Abigail Wilson, with a dominating 24-point, 17-rebound, five-steal effort, outscoring North Stanly by herself.

“It was a good game for me,” said the humble Wilson, “but I can always do better. Every game, we just try to improve ourselves and get better as a team.”

Wilson had plenty of help in the game as nine of the 10 Falcon players who played, scored at least a point. Junior center Kia Pharr scored 13 with senior Egypt Alexander chipped in 10. Shyann Vaughters came off the bench for eight points.

North Stanly, of the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference, were down 17-0 early, until a Taylor Burleson three-pointer got them on the board at 3:10 of the first period. Senior guard Sydney Hinson drilled a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Comets put up 16 points, but West was ahead by then, 50-20. The second half went quickly, with the running clock, as North Stanley was held to just two points, none in the final quarter.

Hinson led North with 11 points while Burleson chipped in with six. For the game, the Comets managed just 20 percent shooting from the field while West blistered the nets at 50 percent (31 of 62). Thanks to Wilson, West also won the rebounding battle handily, 42-29, including  20 offensive boards.

“I thought we never lost our edge, even when we subbed,” Poole stated, “We kept the pace of the game going throughout.”

The West and Carson girls’ semifinal battle this afternoon will bring huge interest.

“I feel our next game will be a lot different than this one,” Poole said.

NORTH STANLY (22) — S. Hinson 11, Burleson 6, Shelton 2, Roseman 2, Landis 1, K. Hinson, Jackson, DeLoach.

WEST ROWAN (81) — Wilson 24, Pharr 13, Alexander 10, Vaughters 8, Sobataka 6, Blabon 6, Connolly 6, Robinson 4, Evans 3, Hairston 1, Poole.

North Stanly      4   16    2     0 — 22

West Rowan    25   25   16   15 — 81

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