NCHSAA Playoffs: Lady Eagles upset top-seeded Red Raiders
Down 11 points in the second quarter against one of the top teams in the state, the East Davidson girls never panicked. They quickly regained their composure and executed their game plan to perfection the rest of the way.
The eighth-seeded Golden Eagles slowed the top-seeded Red Raiders defensively and got the ball inside for easy baskets offensively in toppling Andrews 54-46 on Wednesday night in the second round of the NCHSAA 2-A state playoffs at Andrews.
“It’s a big win for us,” East coach Don Corry said. “We’ve been coming together really well, just playing our type of ballgame. I think we took them out of their game a little bit. We played a little bit slower than they like to play, and that’s what we wanted to do.
“We made a couple bad passes, and they made a couple quick layups (to fall behind 11). But we took a timeout and said, ‘Hey, slow it down, be patient. Patience is a virtue.’ I tell them that all the time — good passes, be patient and good things will happen. And they did.”
Junior guard Lori Morgan scored 22 points — including 15 in the second half — to lead the Golden Eagles (19-9), who will visit No. 4 Cuthbertson on Friday. Bayley Plummer, a 6-2 freshman forward, had 12 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks while freshman guard Madi Hallman added 10 points.
“It feels great. We’re all excited,” said Morgan, who hit 6 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. “We just knew that we had to control the game. We couldn’t run back and forth with them. So, we had to come out here and play our game. That’s what we did.
“We knew we had a size advantage. So, we had to slow it down and get it inside to Bayley, and she did a great job cutting inside and finding the open player. It’s a loud gym and we’re the away team, and they’re a fast team and a good team. So, it’s good to know we can keep our composure.”
Trailing 21-10 with 4:33 left in the second quarter, the Golden Eagles, who won the Central Carolina Conference tournament after going 5-5 in CCC play, scored the final 10 points of the half to trail 21-20. They tied it thrice in the third before grabbing the lead, 31-28, with 3:40 left.
East led by as many as five points before the Red Raiders (25-2) trimmed it to 37-35 heading to the fourth. It then opened the fourth on a 10-3 run, keyed by four points each by Morgan and Plummer, to lead by nine, 47-38, with 3:25 left.
Andrews got it to six with three minutes left — and had 3-pointer bounce in and out with under two minutes left that would’ve cut it to three — but the Golden Eagles hit free throws to extend its lead to 10 in the final minute and closed out the win.
Senior guard Santia Davis scored 20 points to lead Andrews, which went undefeated in winning the PAC-6 regular season and tournament and hadn’t lost since Dec. 28 against Southwest Guilford in the Sheetz holiday tournament. Junior guard October Campbell also had 10 points.
“We battled, but it just didn’t go our way tonight,” coach John Shearin said. “We played hard basketball, and they did everything we asked. We executed our game plan and tonight it just didn’t go our way.
“We weren’t able to do some of the things that we’re usually able to do, and East Davidson’s a great team and well-coached. They prepared to take away — or at least make it harder — the things we wanted to do.”