Red Raider girls race past Warriors
For just a moment, the T.W. Andrews girls looked out of sorts. But that didn’t last long.
The Red Raiders, No. 2 among 2A teams in the NCPreps.com rankings, played well the final 10 ½ minutes of the first half to pull away from host Wheatmore for a 72-49 win Friday night and complete their second straight 10-0 PAC-6 2A championship.
“It feels great,” Andrews coach John Shearin said. “Like I told the kids in the locker room, we’re in a good place. It’s always good to be conference champs and 10-0 in the conference for the second straight year.
“It’s a very good place to be. But, at the same time, we know we have more work to do. We have to continue to execute and continue to work on the things we’re not doing so well right now.”
With the teams tied midway through the first quarter, the Red Raiders (22-1, 10-0 PAC-6) finally found their game, using strong defensive pressure to lead into quick offensive points. They scored 13 straight points to help lead 22-11 after the first quarter.
After the Warriors (10-15, 5-5 PAC-6) trimmed it to eight early in the second quarter, Andrews scored 21 of the half’s final 25 points – including an 8-0 spurt to start and a 7-0 spurt to close the run – to lead 43-18 at halftime.
“Our on-ball pressure dictates a lot,” Red Raiders guard Imani Watkins said. “We’re able to get out, get a lot steals and make teams run with us. We’re going to push the ball, we’re going to push the tempo and you’re going to run with us or we’ll leave you.”
Watkins finished with 23 points, including 17 in the first half, while Santia Davis added 16, including 14 in the first half, to lead Andrews. October Campbell also had 13 points while Jazlin Taylor finished with 12 for the Red Raiders.
Taylor Walker scored 20 points to lead Wheatmore, which finished fourth in the conference, while Georgia Garrison had 11 and Kylie Welborn added nine. The deficit hovered near 35 much of the second half until the Warriors made a run late.
“In the first quarter, we did what we wanted to do,” Wheatmore coach Nicole Clausi said. “We were playing slow ball, looking for each other, playing hard defense, transitioning quick back to defense. And then we got away from our game plan. …
“They’re so quick and anticipate so well,” she said of Andrews. “They get teams to play the way they want them to play. But compared with last time, I think my girls tried to play the entire game. So, I credit them for trying to stay in it and not giving up.”
The Warriors will take on Randleman on Tuesday night at 7:30 in the first round of the PAC-6 tournament at tournament host Atkins. The Red Raiders will take on the winner of that game in the semifinals Thursday night at 7:30.
“We’re just focusing on the small things now,” Shearin said. “The things that won’t show up in the boxscore – things that your parents won’t congratulate you on, the things your classmates won’t tell you you did great.
“We’re not concerned with the scoring, the blocked shots – the flashy things. We’re working more on the things that make you a better team and a better teammate. And we’ll work on continuing to execute and being focused on all 32 minutes of the game.”