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East Rowan gets tournament win over North Stanly

By Marny Hendrick

sports@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The East Rowan girls may change their nicknames from the Mustangs to the “Iron Women,” in the aftermath of Friday morning’s win over North Stanly, 44-29, in the Dale’s/Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Goodman Gymnasium.

East (4-8) broke open a tight battle with the Comets (3-8) thanks to a 14-2 run in the decisive fourth period, in part due to a stifling interior defense but primarily because of stamina.

“We are used to running because we have been rolling with six or seven players all season,” said winning coach Kevin Holland. “If nothing else, by the end of the season, we are definitely going to be in shape. We may not be the fastest team but we will definitely run all day.”

Both teams were coming off of blistering blowout losses in Thursday’s opening round of the tournament, so Friday morning’s game saw two more evenly matched teams. East now moves on to play for fifth place at 12 noon on Saturday, while the Comets have to endure another 9 a.m. contest for seventh place.

“We knew they (North Stanly) were getting tired in the fourth period,” said senior guard Hollie Harrison. “We are used to running, so we pretty much out-ran them the rest of the game.”

Harrison was a key reason for the 16-5 fourth period advantage for East. The Mustangs led, 28-24, as the final quarter began before Harrison nailed four foul shots, got a high bouncer to drop for a 3-pointer, then banked in a hook shot to make the score 42-26 with 2:41 remaining.

“I have been hard on her (Hollie) because she is a senior and needs to step up,” Holland said. “She needs to be a leader for us and today she came through.”

Hollie’s sophomore sister, Adalie, led the winners with 14 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Brooke Mitchell had a career-high outing with 13 points. Both hit a trio of 3-pointers at decisive moments in the game. Sophomore Caroline Houpe led the East rebounding effort with nine boards.

Camille Shelton topped the Comets with 11 points while Sydney Hinson scored 10. The Comets were at a distinct disadvantage at the foul line as East hit 12 of 17 free throws while North managed just 1-of-2. The Mustangs committed just eight fouls in the game, compared to 15 for North Stanly.

Until the fourth quarter blowout, East and North swapped the lead seven times, with neither team ahead by more than four. Early on, the Comets used their superior size to control the middle and the boards. But East adjusted, closing off the inside with their defense down the stretch, collecting nine steals and forcing 12 turnovers.

“We just had to shut their tall girls down and force them to shoot outside,” Harrison said. ” It worked in the end.”

EAST ROWAN (44) —  A. Harrison 14, Mitchell 13, H. Harrison 12, Houpe 3, Ali 2, Fraley, Miller,

NORTH STANLY (29) — Shelton 11. Hinson 10, Jackson 6, Landis 2, Roseman, DeLoach, Kanalley, Burleson, Pemberton.

East Rowan      10     9    9    16 — 44

North Stanly     9      8    7     5 — 29

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