Prep Basketball: East Rowan girls fall on road
By Bill Kiser
STATESVILLE ó For nearly two quarters, East Rowan was giving league-leading Statesville all it could handle.
Then guard Keyrra Gillespie asserted herself, and Statesville pulled away in the second half for a 68-52 victory over the Mustangs on Tuesday night.
Gillespie, who is headed to Clemson, came through in the clutch during two key stretches in the second half for Statesville (16-2, 13-0 NPC), which trailed by as many as five in the second quarter.
Janitsha Williams scored a game-high 26 points, Gillespie finished with 16 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and Bronte Sherrill added 10 for the Greyhounds.
Katelynne Poole scored 14 points, Olivia Rankin had 12 and Mackenzie Holshouser 10 for East Rowan (12-6, 10-3), which remains third in the NPC standings.
“This is the first time we’ve really stuck with them and played with them,” East coach Karen Garmon said. “We usually don’t play well against teams that have their speed, but we pushed the ball, and we scored a ton of points in transition.”
That allowed East to overcome the Greyhounds’ suffocating defense and an early seven-point deficit to lead 17-13 at the end of the first quarter, go up 21-16 in the first three minutes of the second quarter, and take a 27-26 lead at halftime.
It helped that the Mustangs shot better than 46 percent in the first two quarters, while Statesville shot just 32.3 percent. That made up for East’s 13 first-half turnovers, which led to 17 Greyhounds points.
With East up 33-30 in the third quarter, Gillespie put in a pair of layups and got assists on back-to-back 3-pointers by Williams and Raven Brown during a 10-0 run that put Statesville ahead to stay. She also got another assist on a Williams 3-pointer with 2:19 left to give the Greyhounds a 45-38 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Mustangs pulled within 57-50 on Madlyn File’s layup with 3:15 remaining in the game, but Gillespie followed that with a layup and a steal and assist on a Williams layup to kick off an 11-2 run to close out the game.
“She can do that anytime, and that’s why she’s going on to college ball,” Garmon said. “Once she gets going, you can’t stop her.”
EAST ROWAN (52) ó Poole 14, Rankin 12, Holshouser 10, Collins 8, Vanderford 4, File 4, Drew, Sabo.
STATESVILLE (68) ó Williams 26, Gillespie 16, Sherrill 10, Bailey 7, Brown 4, Jones 3, C. Bradley 2, B. Bradley.
East Rowan 17 10 11 12 ó 52
Statesville 13 13 19 23 ó 68east rowan (00) ó Playerstatesville (00) ó PlayerE. Rowan 00 00 00 00 ó 00
Statesville 00 00 00 00 ó 00