Rosewood women roll into rematch with N. Johnston
By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on February 15, 2005 1:56 PM
Next up: North Johnston.
It's exactly what Jessica Hill & Co. were hoping for. Well, that and a little respect.
Hill had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists Monday night as the Rosewood women's basketball team defeated visiting Ayden-Grifton 69-22 in the opening round of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference tournament.
The third-seeded Eagles will now meet conference co-champion North Johnston at Mount Olive College on Thursday in the semifinals. Tip-off is 4 p.m.
Top-seeded Farmville Central faces North Duplin in the other semifinal.
"I think we're looking for a little respect in the tournament," Hill said. "It's like we're the underdog among the top-three teams. Nobody expects us to win against North Johnston and Farmville. I think we deserve more credit than we get for playing as a team. Our team is pretty tight on and off the court.
"I wish we were getting more credit than we're getting right now."
But the road toward that desired respect goes through the Lady Panthers -- a point coach June Hill acknowledges.
She believes her team is up to the challenge.
"We pretty much knew that we were going to see North Johnston on Thursday," coach Hill said. "Our girls are very excited about it. Everyone is up for it. They want another shot at North Johnston.
"They want it bad."
North Johnston swept the regular-season series from Rosewood -- including an overtime win on Jan. 11 and a victory without either Hill making the trek to Kenly for the rematch.
The Eagles (14-7) left little doubt about earning a third chance against the Lady Panthers after holding No. 6 seed Ayden-Grifton without a field goal over the first 51/2 minutes of the game.
Hill scored 12 first-half points to lead Rosewood into the break with a commanding 36-11 lead.
Clare Narron added 12 points, and every active player on the Rosewood roster scored at least one basket.
The Eagles' offensive balance -- and 26 turnovers -- proved too much for the Lady Chargers (2-20) to overcome.
"As far as fundamentals, I think we're playing some of the best basketball we ever have," coach Hill said. "In games like this, we're controlling the tempo. We're not letting the other teams dictate the pace we're going to play at."
Keke Pugh scored seven of her team-leading nine points in the third quarter, but Ayden-Grifton would produce only one field goal over the final eight minutes.
The Eagles now have less than 48 hours to solve the North Johnston equation. With Hill in the post -- and wing -- Rosewood is left feeling confident.
"I think we're more prepared for them this time," the senior said. "This is the conference tournament, and we want to go farther and farther."
Notes: Hill hit two first-half 3-pointers. ... Ayden-Grifton never led. ... Hannah Aycock, Courtney Hill and Shanita Monroe scored six points each for Rosewood. ... Rosewood co-head coach Jerry Narron is at spring training with Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds and will miss the remainder of the season. ... North Johnston defeated Spring Creek 81-34 to advance.
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