Andrews girls blast Wheatmore, 79-40
Two months have passed since the T.W Andrews girls basketball team last lost a game, and Monday night the Red Raiders dominated another opponent.
Fresh off a PAC-6 conference title, No. 1-seeded Andrews cruised to a 79-40 victory in the first round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs over 16-seeded Wheatmore. Four of the Red Raiders reached double figures, including Santia Davis with 22 and Imani Watkins with 19.
“We played excellent D, shared the basketball and stayed focused,” Watkins said. “We’re at the point now where we can just go. You can really tell our team chemistry has improved.”
Watkins was 8 of 14 from the field with three 3-pointers as she guided Andrews to its 16th consecutive victory. Andrews, which had beaten the Warriors twice already this season, dominated from the beginning and led for all but 30 seconds.
“We did a good job defensively tonight, but again there are still a lot of things that we could improve on,” Raiders coach John Shearin said. “Yes, we shot the ball well tonight, and that certainly adds to what we already have, but we need to stay focused and execute better.”
Andrews was 29 of 63 from the field and hit 9 of 18 from beyond the 3-point arc. Davis and Watkins combined for eight of the nine 3-pointers.
In addition to the prolific scoring night, Andrews forced 22 Warrior turnovers. Wheatmore scored only 10 points in the first half and at one point went 12 minutes without a basket.
The duo of Davis and Watkins combined for 21 points in the dominating second quarter.
Having a 42-10 lead at half, Andrews let up on the accelerator when Wheatmore went on an 8-0 run to open the third quarter. Taylor Walker led the charge before it was flattened by Andrews’ stifling full-court press. Walker finished with a team-high 16 points.
“I was glad to see we still had some heart in the second half,” Wheatmore coach Nicole Clausi said. “I knew they had it, and I appreciate them not giving up and continuing to play.”
The athleticism of the Andrews defense smothered Walker, Wheatmore’s standout player, using full-court trap defenses that pressured all areas of the court. Walker finished her career with the Warriors in the loss as a 1,000-point scorer and one of the top players in the PAC-6.
“We wanted to keep fresh legs and a lot of pressure on her at all times,” Shearin said. “She is hands down one of the best players in our conference.”
Andrews moves on to the second round Wednesday night against East Davidson, which defeated PAC-6 member Atkins, 56-49. Wheatmore finished its season at 9-16 overall.