North girls look for another 20-win season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Ninth in a series of reports on local basketball teams …

SPENCER — There can’t be many girls statewide who have scored 1,456 points and still have their senior year in front of them.

But North Rowan guard Bailee Goodlett is a very special player.

Goodlett had two 40-point games last season while putting up a staggering 793 points and averaging a county-best 27.3 points per game. She had a 38-point game against Salisbury, which gives you an idea of what she can do. The 5-foot-4 whirlwind gets steals and layups on defense and can score from anywhere on offense. She’s quick side-to-side and fast end-to-end and is being recruited by quite a few schools.

“Bailee has made more strides with her skills from where she was at this time last year, and there’s no doubt she’s going to go out with a bang,” North head coach Darra Walker said. “She’s flying around and she’s leading.”

As Goodlett goes, that’s how North Rowan will go, but she’s got help.

Walker, the former Livingstone player who guided North to 20 wins in her rookie season, believes Goodlett will have quite a bit more assistance than last season. That’s due to growth from returners as well as some new faces.

Chloee Stoner, who averaged about 5 points, was the biggest loss to graduation.

“We’re bigger, we’re longer and we’re deeper,” Walker said.

North did some good things last season. The Cavaliers were Christmas tournament runner-up, 1A/2A Central Carolina Conference runner-up and CCC tournament runner-up. Then the Cavaliers reached the third round of the 1A state playoffs.

While the Cavaliers lost nine times, six of the losses were to state champions West Rowan and Salisbury, two teams that basically beat everybody. North’s only loss to a 1A team was the third-round playoff setback against Draughn.

“Draughn’s size was a problem for us, but we’ll match up better this year with the bigger teams,” Walker said.

Brittany Ellis is back for her fourth varsity season. Assuming good health, she’s certain to reach 1,000 points for her career.

Ellis was the county’s No. 5 scorer last season with 13.1 points per game. She can get scorching hot on 3-pointers and scored 28 in the playoff win against South Stokes.

“She shoots the 3 very well and that stretches the floor for everyone,” Walker said. “Her confidence is through the roof as far as her shooting, and she is physical and strong enough to play inside.”

Bloom Goodlett is Bailee’s twin and while they both excel equally in the classroom, they have very different roles on the basketball court because Bloom is 3 inches taller. Bailee is a scorer, ballhawk and ball-handler. Bloom’s focus is rebounding and defense. North will need Bloom to score some, but mostly she’ll be trying to limit the prolific scorers that North faces.

“Bloom is long and a very good defender,” Walker said. “Sometimes people just notice the steal, but it may have been Bloom’s defense that caused the steal. She can shoot, and her confidence in her shot has grown since last season.”

Bloom averaged 6.1 points per game as a junior.

Dasia Elder averaged 5.1 points last season and came through with 16 points in a 62-61 win against Community School of Davidson.

“She played in the post last season, even though she’s not really a post,” Walker said. “We’ve got some young posts now, so she’ll be able to play more on the wing this season. That’s her natural position. She can shoot.”

Krisstyle Stockton is an aggressive athlete who was North’s best volleyball player. She may be the most improved player on the squad.

“She’s a lot more confident on offense and she is calling for the ball now,” Walker said. “She’s a different player from last season.”

Adrianna King, Alyssa Mason and A’nyrah Mills were reserves last season. They’ve all improved. They’ll all help.

“Mills has to be one of the fastest girls in the state,” Walker said. “She gets after it.”

Freshman post Zakiya Oglesby, understands the game and already has some skills.

Kanya Cowan is a talented young point guard.

Jordan Shaw, another freshman, will get some minutes, as the Cavaliers won’t have a jayvee team.

“Two point guards, three true posts and some good shooters — this is a pretty solid team,” Walker said. “I’m excited about getting started.”

With the Cavaliers’ football run, North won’t play any games until after Thanksgiving.

North Rowan girls

Coach: Darra Walker (2nd season, 20-9)

2022-23: 20-9 overall, 10-2 1A/2A Central Carolina Conference (2nd)

Playoffs: Lost 52-45 to Draughn in third round of 1A playoffs.

Top returners: Bailee Goodlett, Brittany Ellis, Bloom Goodlett

League: 1A/2A CCC (Salisbury, East Davidson, South Davidson, West Davidson, Lexington, Thomasville)