High school basketball: Another romp for West Rowan girls

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Staff report

CONCORD — Valentine’s Day brought no distraction for West Rowan’s business-like girls basketball team.

Also no mercy.

The top-seeded Falcons destroyed fourth-seeded Lake Norman Charter 81-24 in Tuesday’s South Piedmont Conference Tournament semifinal played on Coach Bo Court in Concord’s Rimer Gym.

West led 24-4 after a quarter and by 47-16 at the half. It was 66-22 after three quarters, and once the Falcons got up by 40, the clock was running non-stop.

Without the running-clock mercy rule, which has been employed in almost all of West’s games, there’s not much doubt that the relentless Falcons
(24-0) would be averaging about 85 points per game.

Lake Norman Charter had survived a challenging game with East Rowan on Monday and already had lost 63-23 and 81-39 to the Falcons, so the Knights knew what was coming.

LNC (15-9) is safely in the   state playoffs at No. 21 in the 3A West RPI rankings. LNC may even be able to win a playoff game, but the Knights had zero chance against a West Rowan team that is averaging 75 points per game, while allowing 27.

West’s No. 6 scorer Makaylah Tenor has scored more than 400 varsity points and has scored 25 in a varsity game. That provides an idea of the depth West has. The 7-8-9 players — that’s DeDe Cuthbertson, Sarah Durham and Mya Edwards, in some order — have a lot of experience. They’ve all been on the floor in playoff games and conference championship games.

West’s closest game so far, at least as far as the final score, was a 69-46 win against North Rowan. The closest game against one of the SPC teams was 72-47 against Northwest Cabarrus.

Lauren Arnold scored 20 to lead Tuesday’s assault by the Falcons. The junior boosted her career point total to 951. She scored 13 in the first half.

Also in double figures were De’Mya Phifer (14), freshman Tiara Thompson (13) and Jamecia Huntley (11). Huntley scored seven in the third quarter.

Emma Clarke added nine points, while Tenor had eight.

If there are still doubters out there, it’s because the Falcons haven’t made it past the third round since the 2004-05 season.

Some very good West Rowan teams, such as the 2015-16 and 2017-18 squads, lost in the third round.

The Falcons lost to East Lincoln in the second round last season, a two-point game, but those Falcons didn’t have Thompson and Huntley.

East Lincoln is 25-0 this season and is second in the 3A West RPI rankings, so a rematch could be in the cards.

Other teams to keep an eye on in the 3A West bracket are Hibriten, having an unusually great season for that program, and Ben Smith, a Greensboro school that staged quite a battle with Salisbury earlier this season.

At this point, West Rowan is projected to play West Charlotte in the first round of the 3A playoffs.

Serious competition for the Falcons is coming … but it hasn’t arrived yet.

West will play third-seeded Central Cabarrus for the tournament championship at 6 p.m. on Friday at Concord.

Central beat second=seeded Northwest Cabarrus 59-53 in overtime in a Wednesday semifinal.

Central lost two close ones to Northwest during the regular season but the Vikings put Jalayah Ray, Kyra Lewis, Jocelyn Stanley and Jahnae Duncan in double figures on Wednesday. Freshman Taylor Smith iced the game with four free throws.

Central Cabarrus has lost to the Falcons 63-31 and 89-46.

Carson’s boys lost 65-26 to Concord in a semifinal on Wednesday in what could be a season-ender for the Cougars.

That result sets up a Friday boys championship game between the second-seeded Spiders and undefeated and top-seeded Central Cabarrus.


Lake Norman Charter    4    12   6    2    — 24

West Rowan                     24   23  19  15  — 81

West — Arnold 20, Phifer 14, Thompson 13, Huntley 11, Clarke 9, Tenor 8, Edwards 4, Martin 2.