Making a statement
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on December 21, 2005 2:04 PM
Both Rosewood basketball teams worked their respective game plans efficiently on Tuesday in their Class 1-A Carolina Conference opener at home against rival North Johnston.
In a game between two girls teams that thrive on pressure defense, the Lady Eagles won the turnover battle and took advantage of many of the Lady Panthers' 38 miscues on their way to a 64-50 win.
Rosewood, which had 30 turnovers of its own, put four players in double figures led by Stephanie Rhodes' 13 points. Courtney Hill added 12 points, while Shanita Monroe and Clare Narron had 10 points each as the Lady Eagles improved to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
"We've got some girls that play aggressive defense and we try to force as many turnovers as we can," Rosewood coach Jerry Narron said. "We got a lot of easy baskets early in the game. Stephanie Rhodes had a big offensive game. The thing I like is that we won the ball game and didn't play our smartest."
In the boys game, Rosewood's methodical half-court offense and sagging zone defense kept the Panthers, the defending eastern champions, at bay through most of a tightly contested struggle.
The Eagles tied the game at 38-38 on a bank shot by Kyle Bunn with 5:03 left, but wouldn't score again in a 48-38 defeat. Rosewood (1-0 Carolina) slipped to 1-8 on the season after a game that saw them miss on nine-straight possessions to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
Thanks to a handful of late turnovers by the Eagles, North Johnston scored eight points in the final 1:30 to pull away late.
Mitchell was clearly pleased with his teams defense, but wasn't complacent with a moral victory.
"I feel like we did everything we could until the last couple of minutes to put ourselves in position to win the game, but when it got to crunch time we didn't execute," he said. "When you commit four turnovers in the final minute, you can't be happy with that."
Rosewood got out to a hot start with center Holt Rains, who finished with 10 points, stepping out to bury two, 3-pointers to make it 6-2. North Johnston's Brandon Sanders countered with 10 of his teams 12 points before the end of the first as the Panthers led 12-10.
With Rains and teammate Dennis Jones effectively defending North Johnston's 6-foot-6 big man, Willie Smith, the Panthers went four minutes without a field goal in the second quarter. Rosewood led by as much as 17-13 in the second and kept the tempo in its favor for the rest of the half.
Meanwhile, Stephen McIntyre and Bunn did a solid job defending the top of the key and the wings in a game that neither team took a sizable lead in the second half. Sanders' drive through the lane at the end of the third quarter gave the Panthers their largest lead at that point, 36-31.
The Eagles bounced back as Bunn, who added 11 points, drained a 3-pointer to start the fourth, then hit the game-tying bank shot to make it 38-38. The Panthers took the lead back on a basket in the paint by Smith and would never trail again despite numerous Rosewood opportunities.
Sanders led all scorers with 16 points, while Smith posted 15 points, 10 coming in the first half. The duo combined for 64 percent of North Johnston's offense in the low-scoring affair.
"Every possession was important. We got some good looks, but we need to take away those possessions where we threw the ball away," said North Johnston coach Derrick Johnson, who's team was picked to win the conference championship. "We made good defensive plays toward the end and got some easy baskets."
Rosewood's girls turned an 18-13 first-quarter lead into a 36-23 lead at the half after a long 3-pointer at the buzzer by Halie Meadows.
The Eagles solid defense continued into the second half as North Johnston managed just four field goals through the first 10 minutes of the second as Rosewood continued to stretch its margin. Rosewood's largest lead came at 58-34 three minutes into the fourth quarter.
Rosewood's 10-2 run in the second quarter and 7-1 spurt to start the third proved to be crucial in the Eagles ability to knock off the Panthers, also picked to win the conference title in a preseason coaches poll.
"North Johnston is well-coached and is going to play aggressively," Narron said. "They are going to play hard, and tonight we were able to overcome it."
North Johnston's Shanice Williams led all scorers with 20 points.
Kasie Braswell and Kasey Grey added to the Eagles' balance with six points each.
The Eagles' boys will host the Rosewood Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28 and will face Wayne Country Day at 8 p.m. East Wake and Durham School of the Arts play in the 6 p.m. game on the opening night. The Lady Eagles are off until Jan. 4 when they face Arendell Parrott Academy of Kinston at home.
North Johnston 13 10 9 18 -- 50
Rosewood 18 18 14 14 -- 64
NORTH JOHNSTON (3-3, 0-1)
Amanda Sharpe 1 0 2-5 4, Caroline Hines 4 0 0-0 8, Stephanie Norris 1 0 2-2 4, Shanice Williams 8 0 4-8 20, Stefanie Jones 3 0 3-4 9, Taylor Allen 2 0 1-2 5. TOTALS -- 19 0 12-21 50.
ROSEWOOD (7-2, 1-0)
Courtney Hill 3 1 3-6 12, Shanita Monroe 3 0 4-6 10, Stephanie Rhodes 5 0 3-7 13, Clare Narron 5 0 0-0 10, Mary Jo Moore 1 0 1-2 3, Halie Meadows 0 1 1-2 4, Kasie Braswell 1 0 4-6 6, Kasey Grey 3 0 0-0 6. TOTALS -- 21 2 16-29 64.
3-point goals -- Rosewood 2 (Hill, Meadows). Turnovers -- North Johnston 38, Rosewood 30. Total fouls -- North Johnston 20, Rosewood 17. Fouled out -- Hines (NJ), Narron (RHS). Technical fouls -- none.
North Johnston 12 9 15 12 -- 48
Rosewood 10 9 12 7 -- 38
NORTH JOHNSTON (1-2, 1-0)
Willie Smith 6 0 3-4 15, Brandon Sanders 8 0 0-1 16, J.P. Wise 2 0 0-0 4, Willie Pearce 3 1 0-0 9, David Williamson 1 0 0-0 2, Will Holloman 0 0 2-2 2. TOTALS -- 20 1 5-7 48.
ROSEWOOD (1-8, 0-1)
Stephen McIntyre 3 0 0-0 6, Brantley Ellis 1 0 2-2 4, Clarence Toran 1 1 0-0 5, Kyle Bunn 3 1 2-2 11, Holt Rains 2 2 0-0 10, Dennis Jones 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 11 4 4-4 38.
3-point goals -- North Johnston 1 (Pearce), Rosewood 4 (Rains 2, Toran, Bunn). Turnovers -- North Johnston 15, Rosewood 18. Total fouls -- North Johnston 9, Rosewood 12. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.
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