CCC Tourney: North Rowan girls defeat East Davidson for conference title
North Rowan had a plan.
“We wanted to keep the ball out of Bayley Plummer's hands,” said Cavalier coach Brian Lytton.
Every coach that has faced the Golden Eagles has surely had that same exact game plan, but executing it against the 6-2 sophomore is difficult. The Lady Cavaliers made it work in the finals of the Central Carolina Conference tournament Friday at Lexington.
Abandoning its fullcourt press, North sagged into a zone and box-and-one defense to limit Plummer's touches. They still had a battle on their hands late, but the Cavs withstood two final East shots to pull out a 45-43 championship victory.
North's Aliyah Farmer drew the assignment much of the night on Plummer, helping to limit her to only nine points for the night.
“We knew we had to do a good job in the halfcourt tonight,” said Lytton. “Aliyah did a great job on Plummer and obviously the plan was to keep the ball out of her hands.”
East Davidson (21-3) had a tough night scoring the basketball, but still had a chance late. Down by seven with six minutes left, the Eagles showed poise, rattling off a 7-0 run to tie the game. Lori Morgan netted a 3-pointer and Plummer followed with four more points to deadlock the game at 35-35. North pulled back ahead by four, but Morgan continued to play big with Plummer being closely guarded, hitting another three from the top of the key to get the Eagles back to within one.
East took a brief 43-42 advantage on a pair of Madi Hallman free throws, but Demeria Robinson raced down the floor for a layup to put the Cavs back in front.
Out of a timeout, East tried to inbound the ball at halfcourt, but Robinson stepped in for the steal and was fouled. She made the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second. Plummer grabbed the rebounded and tossed an outlet pass to Hallman. The sophomore guard hoisted up a long jumper and it looked good all the way. The iron was unkind, as the ball jumped out of the cylinder to the right. Jennifer Welborn pulled in the rebound and had a decent look on the baseline, but it would not fall as time expired.
“We just did not have enough patience tonight,” said East coach Don Corry. “They did a good job keeping the ball away from Bayley. We were not patient enough to get the ball in to her. There in the fourth quarter when we reversed it and then went inside, we started scoring the ball. We should have been doing that the whole game.”
It was the first time all season that anyone in conference play had beaten the Eagles. The win gives Lytton and the Cavaliers a shot in the arm heading into playoff action this week.
“I think we are playing well at the right time,” he said. “That is one of the best teams if not the best team in the state. If we can play with them we can play with anybody.”
Corry reminded his team that the loss does not hurt them when it comes to their goal of winning a state championship.
“I told them not to worry about it. We are still the No. 1 seed and we are going to the state playoffs.”
East had a good start even with Plummer not scoring until the game was six minutes old. Hallman scored eight points to lead the Eagles out to a 12-3 advantage. It was 16-10 after the first quarter, but the Cavaliers closed to within one at halftime.
Morgan led all scorers with 16 points and Hallman had 12. Nycieko Dixon paced the Cavs (21-4) with 15 points.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.