02/27/10 — WCDS girls defeated in state final game

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WCDS girls defeated in state final game

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 27, 2010 11:36 PM

LEWISVILLE -- Eric Perry beamed like a proud papa, even with the disappointing outcome.

No one expected Wayne Country Day to defend its girls' basketball state championship this season. Three key starters had graduated, no "true" post player returned to patrol the paint and inexperienced underclassmen had to fill the void.

And the Chargers, certainly not to Perry's surprise, nearly proved their critics wrong.

However, the final obstacle -- Word of God -- was tough to overcome Saturday morning at Forsyth Country Day School. The athletic and determined Holy Rams, wary of last year's loss to the Chargers in the final, served up revenge in dominating fashion.

All-state selection Nadine Ealey poured in a game-high 20 points as Word of God rolled past WCDS 41-27 for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A championship. It was the Holy Rams' first-ever state crown in three tries.

"State runners-up last year ... felt like we should have gotten it," said Holy Rams coach Jarita Crump. "We just kept being relentless throughout the whole season ... focused on one game at a time, breaking it further down quarter by quarter and minute by minute.

"If we focused on the small things, the rest would take care of itself."

Word of God's 2-3 zone defense certainly took care of WCDS.

Crump's team pressured guards Catherine Ford and Sarah Best in the opening eight minutes, and forced 10 turnovers. The miscues led to fast-break opportunities that turned a one-possession advantage into a 14-6 lead after one quarter.

"We are big on our defense, pretty much what we're good at," said Crump. "Our defense makes our offense go, creating steals and making them turn the ball over. That's where our offense comes from."

The turnovers and WCDS' frustration continued to swell in the second period. Ealey knocked down uncontested shots off open-court passes as Word of God (19-3 overall) grabbed a commanding 30-14 lead by halftime.

"The zone was effective," said Perry. "They pressured our guys and they were good with their hands. We just weren't strong with the ball. The good looks we did get, we rushed them because I think we were caught up in the championship moment.

"We felt our offense let us down. When they got the lead, it's because we missed chances on offense ... didn't execute very well."

Wayne Country Day finished with 20 turnovers and converted 12 of 36 shots from the field. Ford, who earned All-State recognition for the second consecutive season, collected eight points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Best and Martell (four rebounds) supplied eight and seven points, respectively. The loss snapped the Chargers' seven-game win streak in postseason play.

"I'm proud of where they've come from at the beginning of the year and nobody gave them a shot," said Perry. "They proved a lot of people wrong. I am just as proud as I was standing here at this time last year (celebrating a state title)."