High school basketball: West girls roll on, break school record for wins
Published 5:24 am Sunday, February 26, 2023
MOUNT ULLA – West Rowan girls basketball fans got to see a ballgame for a while — that was something new — but when the dust settled on Saturday night, the Falcons had wiped out another opponent.
A 25-point, 80-55 victory over the Ashe County Huskies in the third round of the 3A state playoffs was victory No. 28 for the Falcons, without a loss.
West is assured of breaking the program record for fewest losses in a season. They don’t plan to lose any, but the maximum the Falcons can lose this season is one.
West broke the record for most wins in program history on Saturday. The 2015-16 team that had Khaila Hall, Egypt Alexander, Mary Sobataka and Taylor Martin filling it up lost at home in the third round and finished 27-3.
The 1992-93 West team with all-time Falcons Wendy Hampton and Andrea Grissett won 26 games.
Third-round games once were universally referred to as sectional finals. They were the springboard to the regional level.
The 2004-05 Falcons, with 1,000-point scorers Brittany Roberson an Rashonda Mayfield, earned a first-round bye, and then beat two Randolph County schools to take a sectional.
That West team got smashed by Asheville’s Rashanda McCants,a future WNBA player, in a regional semifinal. This is the first time since 2005 that the Falcons have gotten this deep in the playoffs.
On Tuesday, top-seeded West will host Ben L. Smith High of Greensboro in a fourth-round game/regional semifinal.
Fourth-seeded Smith is 25-2. Smith hasn’t lost to any 3As. The losses were to 2A Salisbury and to 1A Bishop McGuinness. Those two schools are still playing.
Ninth-seeded Ashe County (19-9) was only down 18-12 after the first quarter.
West, which is still on pace to be the highest-scoring team in school history, led 40-31 at halftime.
“Ashe has a good team and they surprised us by coming in here and running with us,” West coach Ashley Poole said. “Not many teams have tried to do that, and I don’t think we played very well in the first half. But in the second half we got our transition game going better and tightened some things up on defense. We didn’t play Falcon basketball in the first half, but in the second half, we did.”
Holding Ashe County to nine points in the third quarter, West surged ahead 60-40 and added to the margin in the fourth quarter.
Guards De’Mya Phifer and Tiara Thompson had huge games. Phifer, a lightning-quick junior, scored a season-high 27, while Thompson, a poised and talented freshman, had a career-best 22.
“Those two kind of took over and did a great job of driving,” Poole said. “They were penetrating and scoring or setting up their teammates,” Poole said.
Steady Lauren Arnold scored at her average with 17 points. Jamecia Huntley scored nine, while Emma Clarke got five.
Only five Falcons scored. That was unusual. Usually eight or nine get in the scorebook.
Abby Sheets scored 19 to lead the Huskies.
West held Paige Overcash, the leading scorer for the Huskies this season, to four points.
The win was the 172nd for Poole, who is in her 10th season. She’s sixth all-time for Rowan County girls basketball coaches.
Ashe County 12 19 9 15 — 55
West Rowan 18 22 20 20 — 80