Eagles' impressive season ends
By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on February 23, 2006 2:18 PM
KENANSVILLE -- With two key offensive scorers unavailable, Rosewood found an unusual source Wednesday evening against long-time nemesis Midway.
Halie Meadows came off the bench and drilled the game-tying 3-pointer, forcing overtime in a N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A Sectional No. 4 semifinal at Kenansville Auditorium. But Meadows' miraculous field goal accounted for the Eagles' last basket of the game.
Rosewood failed to convert on 11 possessions in the overtime period and suffered a 69-60 loss. The Raiders (21-5) collected their second victory over the Eagles in three meetings this season, and continue play in the sectional final Saturday against East Bladen.
A sign reminding Rosewood players to "believe" in themselves became a rallying cry in the second half. Assistant coaches Josh Smith and Jennifer Cochran told the team to believe in itself during every timeout, and after the third quarter.
"The girls never lost hope," said Smith.
Gabby Spears hit four consecutive field goals, all short jumpers from the baseline, to help Midway seize its biggest advantage -- 56-43 -- with just more than two minutes remaining in regulation. Rosewood started applying defensive pressure, forced a couple of turnovers and put together an 11-0 run.
Courtney Hill buried a 17-footer off Shanita Monroe's steal and assist, and Clare Narron added a single free throw to close the gap to 59-57. Narron soon fouled out and the Raiders' Shannon Blanks hit the back end of a two-shot foul with 17 seconds left in regulation.
Rosewood worked the ball downcourt and Stephanie Rhodes found Meadows, who was unguarded outside the 3-point arc. Meadows banked in a 3-pointer at the 10-second mark and the Raiders couldn't answer.
"We found our game," said Smith, whose team forced 23 turnovers. "The whole year we have relied on our defense and when we got a chance, we finally started forcing turnovers. You could feel the momentum shift. The girls believed.
"It went our way there in the fourth and at the end of regulation, but unfortunately we ran out of gas in the overtime."
Narron and Braswell watched from the bench as the Eagles failed to find any offensive punch against the Raiders in the extra four-minute session. Rosewood missed all nine of its field goal attempts committed two turnovers, which led to four Raider free throws.
"It's really hard when you have two people (Narron, Kasie Braswell) foul out who are your scorers, but Halie did a remarkable job putting in that three at the end of regulation," said Cochran.
The Eagles, the Carolina Conference champions, built an early lead in the opening quarter. Midway stayed close behind 6-foot-4 center Lauren Cochran, who scored the Raiders' first 15 points of the game and finished with a phenomenal triple-double -- 29 points, 29 rebounds and 14 blocked shots.
Midway, the Super Six champion, used a 10-2 run to grab a 30-22 advantage at halftime. Cochran remained a factor on the boards (six rebounds, three blocks), but her teammates finally scratched their way into the scoring column.
Spears and Ashley Brewington combined for six points during the run, while Tyndall provided a 3-pointer off Brewington's assist.
The Raiders led by seven after three quarters before the Eagles responded with a 6-0 run. Braswell, Shanita Monroe and Kasey Grey each hit a basket as Rosewood climbed within 45-44 at the 6:17 mark. Spears hit a pair of short baseline jumpers and Brewington added an uncontested layup off Brewington's assist to push the lead back to 51-44.
"I think we were getting tired at the end of the game and maybe we didn't hit our defensive spots like we should have," said the Eagles' Cochran.
Midway scored the next eight points before Rosewood made its thrilling game-ending run.
Narron emerged the Eagles' top scorer with 16 points, while Hill provided 15. Grey chipped in 10 for Rosewood, which completed its most-successful season in school history at 20-5.
2006 N.C. High School
Athletic Association Class 1-A
Sectional No. 4 Playoffs
(at Kenansville Auditorium)
Midway 15 15 15 15 9 -- 69
Rosewood 18 4 16 22 0 -- 60
Jessica Griffin 0 0 0-0 0, Ashley Brewington 3 0 4-4 10, Gabby Spears 8 0 0-2 16, Talisa Dawson 1 0 0-0 2, Joanna Tyndall 1 1 4-8 9, Lauren Cochran 13 0 3-5 29, Shannon Blanks 1 0 1-8 3. TOTALS -- 27 1 12-27 69.
Courtney Hill 3 3 0-0 15, Shanita Monroe 3 0 1-2 7, Stephanie Rhodes 0 0 0-0 0, Clare Narron 5 1 3-5 16, Mary Jo Moore 0 0 0-0 0, Halie Meadows 0 1 0-0 3, Kasie Braswell 4 0 1-2 9, Kasey Grey 5 0 0-0 10. TOTALS -- 20 5 5-9 60.
3-point goals -- Midway 1 (Tyndall), Rosewood 5 (Hill 3, Narron, Meadows). Turnovers -- Midway 23, Rosewood 5. Total fouls -- Midway 12, Rosewood 23. Fouled out -- Narron, Braswell. Technical fouls -- none.
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