High school basketball: East girls lose, still on playoff bubble

Published 2:49 am Tuesday, February 14, 2023



From staff reports

HUNTERSVILLE — East Rowan’s girls basketball team scored 44 more points on Monday than on Friday

That sounds great, sounds like a sure win, but it wasn’t.

After being shut out in the second half by West Rowan, the Mustangs did some serious scoring on Monday, but they couldn’t keep Lake Norman Charter off the foul line and lost 59-53 in the first round of the South Piedmont Conference Tournament.

East may not get to play again, but it’s possible the Mustangs will squeeze into the playoffs. They won’t know for sure until seeds and pairings are announced on Saturday. They finished Monday night 33rd in the 3A West RPI rankings. Thirty-two teams make the bracket,. While East won’t be playing, losses and wins by other teams will continue to shift the percentages and the RPI rankings.

Seeded fifth, East (11-13) got off to a slow start and trailed Lake Norman Charter 17-5 after a quarter. East settled in during the second quarter but still trailed 34-21 at halftime.

East was down 17 heading to the fourth quarter, but made a strong comeback to make it close. The Mustangs scored 23 points in the fourth quarter.

“It was a very good effort,” East coach Bri Evans said.

Peyton Whicker had a great game and scored 18 points. Lily Kluttz also scored a career high. She had 14.

Fourth-seeded Lake Norman Charter is 21st in the 3A West RPI rankings and is safely in the playoffs.

Playing at home, the Knights (15-8) shot 45 free throws and while they made only 23, that was enough to win the game. Freshman Reece Long made three 3-pointers and scored 24 points. Julia Zelando went 13-for-23 at the foul line for most of her 16 points. Kailyn Kirkpatrick blocked three shots. Sometimes the Knights post crazy rebounding numbers, but they played without big rebounder Jade Taylor.

Lake Norman Charter will take on top-seeded West Rowan tonight in a semifinal. Tip-off at Concord High’s Rimer Gym will be at 6 p.m. The Falcons have buried the Knights 63-23 and 81-39, so it’s hard to see anything amazing happening in that one.

East Rowan     5     16     9    23   — 53

LN Charter     17    17     13    12   — 59

East — Whicker 18, L. Kluttz 14, Collins 5, Cook 4, Cox 4, M. Kluttz 3, Waddell 3, Boardley 1, Smith 1.