South Lenoir comes from behind in girls' basketball win over West Craven
VANCEBORO | On Friday night, West Craven hosted South Lenoir, with both teams for their first conference win of the season.
South Lenoir started cold, but a 20-point fourth quarter, including eight unanswered points in the last two minutes, would secure a 48-46 victory.
“This was a tremendous victory for us,” South Lenoir coach Donald Mooring said. “We came off a Christmas tournament where we were 2-1. We have lost two conference games, both on the road. This shows the girls that we can win on the road and come back when we are down.”
“We played great basketball for 28 minutes,” West Craven coach Led Wedesky said. “We outrebounded them all game, but not when it really mattered. We had three girls in with four fouls in the first quarter. We sat them and played our bench and didn’t miss a step, never dipping below a 10 point lead all game. Then all of a sudden, in the last four minutes, they quit doing what they had been doing all game. I don’t understand it.”
South Lenoir fell behind 10-2 at the start as West Craven's Akira Felder and Kayla Simmons hit 3-pointers early on. West Craven held an 18-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and went up 25-15 at the end of the first half.
“I got in their face,” Mooring said. “I told them we are still in this and we gotta stop making mistakes. Defense is going to be the only thing that will give us a chance in this game.”
South Lenoir's Gralicia Jenkins would get hot in the second half, nailing three 3-pointers and scoring all but two of her 14 points in the latter half of the game. The turning point for the Blue Devil's came with four minutes left when West Craven’s Deslyn Abrams fouled out. She had scored 19 points and snagged 16 rebounds for the Eagles.
“We did not have an answer for her,” Mooring said. “Once she fouled out, we were able to get hot. Gralicia and Taniejah led us on offense and Destiny (Hall) held down the defense late in the game. That helped to turn it around for us."
The Blue Devils went on a strong surge in the last three minutes, keyed by Jenkins and Mitchell. With 20 seconds left, South Lenoir took their first lead of the night on a layup by Hall, who had also made two of four free throws to bring the girls to within one.
“This was a hard win for us,” Jenkins said. “We finally played defense like we were supposed to and took better shots.”
Jenkins would lead South Lenoir with 14 points. Mitchell would add 11.
“The girls have to learn that when you are up by 10, be up by 20. Don’t step off the gas,” Wedesky said. “They are young and inexperienced and not used to having leads like that. So, you feel what you gotta feel tonight and then when tomorrow comes, you know you don’t want to feel like that again. You can’t let that carry over into the next game.”
SOUTH LENOIR: Jenkins 14, Mitchell 11, Hall 4, Foster 4, Howard 4, Croom 3, Kopanski 2, Graham 2, Mcclain 2
WEST CRAVEN: Abrams 19, Brautigam 8, Felder 7, Gray 7, Simmons 4, Ringer 3, Dillard 2