Andrews girls race past Central

Jan. 03, 2014 @ 11:29 PM

The T.W. Andrews girls still don’t feel like they’re where they need to be – but they’re working hard to get there.

“In all honesty, and I shared this comment with the team, we’re not on pace with where we want to be,” coach John Shearin said, following the Red Raiders’ 62-21 win Friday against rival High Point Central. “We’ve gone in reverse with some things we’ve done well in the past.

“But the most important thing is that I recognize it, we recognize it, and we’re all onboard to fix it. And that’s a good sign. It’s not always going to be perfect, and there are always going to be things to work on. But the bigger problem would be if we didn’t all agree we have weaknesses.”

Bouncing back from a disappointing performance in the Sheetz Holiday Christmas Classic championship game, Andrews (8-4) scored 28 straight points over the first and second quarters to pull from a momentary early deficit and took full control of the game.

Imani Watkins, a Binghamton University signee, scored 13 points – including a 3-pointer with 3:40 left in the fourth to eclipse 1,000 points for her career – to lead Andrews (8-4). She became the first Red Raider to reach the mark since Tonisha Baker in 2008-09.

“I feel like we played well,” Watkins said. “We have some things we need to work on, but we played together and things are starting to come together. … We definitely have to stay focused and remember that we’re playing for each other. Just stay focused. ...

“It’s a big accomplishment,” she said of scoring 1,000 points. “It’s something not too many people have done at Andrews. So, it’s a good feeling. My teammates were happy for me. It feels good to know where we started and where I started, and over these four seasons getting better.”

Jazlyn Taylor added 10 points while Brie Grier followed with eight for Andrews, which led 48-11 at halftime and led by as many as 46 in the second half. Shea Maness scored six points to lead the Bison (0-12), while Kierra Currie and Caroline Gibson each added five.

Central did flash its potential at times, executing a play well and hitting the shot on offense while limiting chances on defense. But it also struggled with strings of turnovers, which, against a top-tier team like the Red Raiders, proved problematic.

Still, it showed improvement from where it has been.

“We played hard, and that was the big thing,” Bison coach Ben Free said. “We finished playing hard, and it’s something we can build on as we go into the conference. We’ve had several games that we’ve actually had a chance in.

“I think the girls are starting to get that feeling of: Hey, we can compete. We’re getting better, and now it’s just getting over that hump of actually finishing games. A lot of games we either start slow or finish slow. Once we get a little more IQ and experience, we’ll get there.”

With exams and the start of conference play looming next week, Andrews next plays Saturday evening at Dudley at 6, while Central next plays Wednesday at home against Northeast Guilford.