SPENCER — North Rowan’s 65-27 YVC win against Gray Stone on Wednesday wasn’t overly exciting, but the bottom line was.
The Cavaliers, who rely heavily on freshmen, are now 4-0 in league play, and that hasn’t happened since the 2005-06 season when North, fueled by Sophilia Hipps and Shemekia Brown, exploded to a 4-0 start and eventually shared the 2A Central Carolina Conference title with an 11-1 record.
This is North’s 55th season of girls basketball and it still owns just that one regular-season title. So are we in the early stages of a history-making season?
Still too soon to tell says first-year coach Brian Lytton.
“Right after Christmas, we’ve got the top of our league — South Davidson , Chatham Central and West Montgomery,” he said. “We’ll be put to the test.”
North (4-2, 4-0) has finished fifth, fifth and tied for sixth in its three years since dropping down to 1A and the YVC, but the Cavaliers are pointed in the right direction.
Special Washington scored 15 points to lead North in Wednesday’s win. Fredejah Royer scored 13, all in the second half, and Demeria Robinson added 11.
“I thought we did great,” said Robinson, a sophomore who averaged 9.6 points last season. “I really liked the way we pushed the ball and I really liked the teamwork.”
North lost twice to Gray Stone in the 2009-10 season and struggled to tight wins against the Knights in each of the past two seasons, but this one was over very early.
Six Cavaliers scored in the first quarter, and when Robinson hit a 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the period, North owned a comfortable 17-2 lead
Aliyah Farmer and Tre Allen scored four points each in the second quarter as North pushed its advantage to 32-8 at halftime.
“There were a few times when we lost focus, but overall I thought we did a very good job,” Lytton said. “The two things we’ve really been working on in practice have been boxing out and playing solid defense without fouling, and we did pretty well at both of those things tonight.”
Gray Stone’s Mary Cadle had a three-point play early in the third quarter, but North regained momentum when a steal by Allen led to two Anna Lingle free throws.
When Royer made a couple of free throws with 1:30 left in the third quarter, North’s lead stretched to 30 points at 44-14.
Lingle stole the ball and Kayla Smith finished on a break before the horn at the end of the third quarter for a 48-17 North lead.
Washington, a freshman who leads North in scoring, got eight of her points in the fourth quarter. She hit a long one for North’s second 3-pointer of the contest, and Royer, a post player, stepped out and hit a 3 to make it 61-19 with 3:29 remaining. That was North’s largest lead.
Kate Sullivan had three fourth-quarter buckets for the Knights to make the final score a little tighter.
Gray Stone (3-6, 1-4) owns a league win against East Montgomery, but this one belonged to the Cavs right from the start.
“We’ve got some good new players,” Robinson said. “There’s a big difference in this team from last year.”
The Christmas tournament is next for North. If East Rowan beats West Iredell Friday, North will be seeded fourth. If East loses, North would be No. 3.
North is 3-10 in the last five Christmas tournaments, but the future is looking brighter.
GRAY STONE (27) — Cadle 7, Sullivan 6, Howard 3, Ansbro 2, Harrington 2, Efird 2, Deese 2, Taylor 2, Redman 1, Everhart, Burris.
NORTH ROWAN (65) — Washington 15, Royer 13, Robinson 11, Allen 9, Farmer 7, Lingle 4, Smith 4, Sells 2, Carter.
Gray Stone 2 6 9 10 — 27
North Rowan 17 15 16 17 — 65