02/17/08 — WCDS girls capture CPIC title

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WCDS girls capture CPIC title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 17, 2008 2:15 AM

Wayne Country Day's "big three," as it has all season, came through in the clutch Saturday evening.

And the youth-laden Chargers reaped the rewards.

The threesome of Bridgette Briggs, Brooke Norris and Catherine Ford turned in a stellar fourth-quarter effort against Kerr-Vance Academy. Each supplied key plays either offensively or defensively in a come-from-behind, 36-29 victory.

Wayne Country Day (16-7 overall) collected the Class 1-A Coastal Plains Independent Conference tournament title, and earned the automatic berth to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament. The Chargers, ranked No. 2 statewide, will learn their postseason seeding today when the NCISAA selection committee releases the pairings.

For three-plus quarters, the second-seeded Spartans dictated the tempo, created turnovers and kept a one-possession lead.

"We played tight ... played nervous and didn't run what we wanted on offense," said Chargers head coach Eric Perry. "They have never been in this position before. The championship moment got the best of us. But our 'big three' didn't let us lose at the end."

After wasting five possessions late in the third quarter, Kim Martell put the Chargers back in front 22-21 off an assist from Briggs, who was named CPIC player of the year. Norris drained a 3-pointer, the first of two in a 30-second stretch, to extend the lead to 25-21.

"We realized we had to pick it up," said Norris, who received tournament MVP honors. "We said this was our quarter and we have to take control. We needed to play at our pace and that's what we did."

All-CPIC selection Chrissy MacInnes rebounded her own miss and banked it off the glass to make it 25-23. Norris nailed her second 3 off Briggs' assist and Briggs added a free throw to keep the Chargers in front 29-25.

Wayne Country Day collected six of the next eight points within a 90-second span. Norris swished a 17-footer off Ford's assist and picked the Spartans for a steal, which she converted into a layup. Those two buckets, sandwiched around Briggs' offensive putback, iced the game with 40 seconds left in regulation.

"As a captain, I knew I had not done my best in the first half," said Norris, who finished with 14 points. "I think we got big-headed because we beat them twice in the regular season. We were missing layups in pre-game and they were pumped up on their end.

"But, in the second half, me, Bridgette and Cat knew we had to play together."

Briggs posted a double-double with 15 points and 23 rebounds. Ford, also named to the all-conference and all-tournament teams, contributed six rebounds and three assists.

"Kerr-Vance fought for everything they could get," said Perry, the CPIC coach of the year. "We were able to win not playing our best and our girls did not give up on each other. They kept fighting and making the plays necessary to win the game."

With the 'big three' leading the charge.