Lady Demons slow pace, but can't creep by Gryphons
February 4, 2012Rocky Mount High School
By Jimmy Lewis, Wilson Times
WILSON - The Fike High varsity girls basketball team opted for the “tortoise and the hare” approach Friday against 3-A Big East Conference leader Rocky Mount, and the Golden Demons kept heavily favored Rocky Mount in their sights into the third quarter.
But the Gryphons’ Alexus Cooper hit three critical shots at the close of the quarter and East Carolina commit J’Kyra Brown netted 26 points as the Demons, who entered play in a four-way tie for third in the league, dropped a 47-28 Senior Night decision.
Fike slid to 7-11 overall and 2-6 within the league, while Rocky Mount (18-2), winner of its 12th straight game, remained unbeaten through eight league tests.
“We’ve already played Rocky Mount two times,” first-year Fike head coach Kim Howard reminded. “And both times, the spread was ridiculous because we tried to run up and down the floor with them. We realized that we could not run with them, that we were going to have to take the air out of the ball and spread it out so we could move the ball around and get the best open shot. There were a few layups that we missed that would have been the difference in the spread.”
Fike, which finished shooting 10 of 42 for 23.8-percent accuracy, committed just three turnovers in the first half in its deliberate offensive pace. Rocky Mount took an 11-4 lead early in the second quarter, but Fike, diligent in its 2-3 zone on the defensive end, clawed back with an acrobatic runner from junior Shatera Black and a deep 3-pointer by sophomore E.J. Proctor, who missed the second Rocky Mount game because of an out-of-state soccer commitment.
Black splashed in a trey to give Fike its final lead at 14-13 with 2 minutes, 54 seconds left in the first half.
Once the second half began, Rocky Mount amped up its man-to-man defensive pressure and began forcing the officials to utilize the five-second count. Fike turned it over eight times over the final 16 minutes and got as close as 32-24 after Proctor’s trey off the right elbow. But once Rocky Mount established a double-digit lead on a pair of Brown baskets, the Gryphons began to hold the basketball just beyond the mid-court stripe, forcing Fike out of the 2-3 zone and into a man-to-man defense with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left. The final minute was spent in foul mode for the Demons as Rocky Mount,14 of 41 from the floor for 34.1-percent accuracy, cosmetically added to the final margin from the line.
“In the first half, we did not set any type of defensive tone,” Rocky Mount head coach Pam Gainey said. “I was disturbed and disappointed in my girls. That’s what we work on, and it’s not what I saw in the first half.”
Proctor led the Demons with nine points.
ROCKY MOUNT (47)
A. Cooper 13, T. Cooper 5, J’Kyra Brown 26, Ke. Daniels 3, Richardson, Battle, Bryant, Kipp.
Proctor 9, Black 7, Williams 4, Bland 2, Spells 2, Cooper 4, Ruffin, Brown, Sharpe, Baker, Fate.
Score by quarters:
Rocky Mount 11 6 10 20 — 47
Fike 4 10 5 9 — 28