Thomasville girls oust East Davidson, 62-48
When the opportunities presented themselves to take control of the game, the Thomasville girls eagerly pounced on them.
The Bulldogs, using tough fullcourt pressure throughout, forced 16 first-half turnovers in building a double-digit halftime lead and rolled to a 62-48 win against East Davidson on Wednesday in the NCHSAA 2A regional semifinals at UNCG.
“That’s our key — pressing, trying to push the tempo to our style of play,” Thomasville coach Brandon Stanton said. “I tell our girls that the more aggressive we are, the better defense we play, the more easy baskets we get in transition and that’s what we like.”
Sophomore wing Christina Coleman scored 25 points to lead the Bulldogs (21-5), who will play Pisgah, which beat Bandys 57-45 in the early game, in the regional final on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 in UNCG’s Fleming Gym.
Freshman wing Timber Tate also had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Thomasville, their defense frazzling the Golden Eagles for 30 turnovers for the game, while senior guard Joslyn Spires added 10 points and nine rebounds.
“We know what they can do; they know what we can do,” said Spires, the team’s lone senior. “So, as we get better and better on our defense — because I’m pretty sure they probably set up a couple plays to break it.
“But each time we played them we always made little mistakes. So, we all we did was keep working at it. They knew what we were going to do, but they didn’t know how to react when we switched up what we did.”
Bayley Plummer, a 6-2 freshman forward, scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead East Davidson (20-10), but she struggled with early fouls and, as a result, had to sit significant portions of the middle periods.
Junior guard Lori Morgan also had 16 points, hitting 10 of 13 from the free-throw line, while junior forward Jennifer Welborn, who also struggled with fouls and sat out long stretches, added six points for the Golden Eagles.
“That’s the best I’ve seen Thomasville play this year, and I’ve seen them play five or six times,” East coach Don Corry said. “Their press really worked well, and I think our youth and inexperience really came to the front tonight.
“But nobody thought we’d be here. I told girls to keep their heads up and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. They had an outstanding year. Take it easy, get ready over the summer and see if we can get a little further next year than we did this year.”
Thomasville trailed by four early in the second quarter when Plummer drew her third foul with 5:29 left. Welborn picked up her less than a minute later, as Thomasville took advantage by closing the half on an 18-3 run.
The third-seeded Bulldogs used their fullcourt trapping defense to force turnovers near midcourt and quickly turn them into a string of easy layups to build a 33-22 halftime lead against the eighth-seeded Golden Eagles.
“We wanted to attack and get (Plummer) in foul trouble,” Staton said. “And once we got here in foul trouble, that made it that much harder for them. We got in foul trouble as well, but it’s just fighting through it and playing our game, which is up-tempo.”
After East pulled within seven early in the third, Thomasville made a 10-2 run to lead 43-28 with 1:51 left in the quarter. The Golden Eagles did cut it to 11 with 4:25 left in the game, but the Bulldogs once again pulled away and closed out the win.