High school basketball: South girls end season

Published 4:47 am Tuesday, February 14, 2023


Staff report

CONCORD — South Rowan’s girls basketball team concluded the season on Monday with a 59-27 loss at Central Cabarrus in the opening round of the South Piedmont Conference Tournament.

The scouting report is you have to make the Vikings shoot the ball from outside, but they got a lead without having to make anything other than layups or free throws.

Central Cabarrus’ strengths are aggressive pressure defense and spirited offensive rebounding.  They got their first 31 points against the Raiders on layups or free throws. Kyra Lewis was spinning inside. Taylor Smith was scoring off steals. Jalayah Ray was running the floor and hitting the boards.

South was down 8-0 when Ari Alston made a free throw to get the Raiders on the board. South was down 17-1 when Eden Childers, a senior who played her last game, connected on a long 2 late in the first quarter.

Sixth-seeded South (8-16) played its best late in the second quarter and had a 9-0 run to turn a 23-7 deficit into a hopeful 23-16 at halftime. Alston made two 3-pointers during that spree, while Ella Morgan made one.

“We made a very solid comeback,” South coach Alex Allen said.

When Kynlee Dextraze caught a lob from Madilyn Cherry and stuck in two early in the third quarter, South trailed 23-18. That was high tide for the Raiders, who had several possessions to get even closer, but missed some opportunities.

Third-seeded Central (16-9) experienced a drought that lasted from the closing minutes of the first half until well into the third quarter. Ray got the game’s biggest bucket, a third-effort stick-back that finally ended the drought and made it 25-18. Then she scored again, putting back her own miss. Lewis scored in the paint for 29-18, and the Vikings started to pull away.

They had a 21-0 run to close the third quarter. At that point, it was 44-18, and all over.

Cherry, South’s leading scorer, didn’t score until the fourth quarter. It was a sweet shot — a step-back 3-pointer — that made it 52-24. It was the final bucket of a nice career. She played varsity four years. She turned in her best season as a senior.

“I hated to see the season end because we had some good moments,” Allen said. “The girls were a joy to coach and our record doesn’t speak to the amount of growth we had. We’ll continue to push in the off-season.”

Central is safely in the playoffs and will take on second-seeded Northwest Cabarrus in a Wednesday semifinal that will be played on Coach Bo Court in Concord’s Rimer Gym.

South Rowan       3     13     2    9    —   27

Central                  19     4    21    15   — 59

South — Alston 9, Dextraze 6, Morgan 4, Cherry 3, Childers 3, Atwell 2.

Central — Ray 18, Lewis 16, Smith 7, Duncan 5, Cruz, 4, Burton 4, Pickett 3, Stanley 2.