01/30/11 — Howell helps Golden Falcon girls emerge victorious in overtime

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Howell helps Golden Falcon girls emerge victorious in overtime

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 30, 2011 1:51 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Imari Howell disappeared for three quarters.

But, oh, what a return she made.

A junior, Howell scored eight of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined, and sparked Charles B. Aycock to a 43-38 victory over South Johnston on Friday evening. The Golden Falcons (13-5 overall) swept the regular-season series from the Trojans, and improved to 8-1 in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play this season.

"That was the girl I remembered, she hid for three quarters," said Aycock head coach Laura Romo. "That last two minutes (of regulation) and overtime, she took over. That's what we need."

South Johnston (14-6, 6-2 ECC) employed a triangle-and-two and box-and-one scheme against Howell through three-plus quarters, which rattled the physical 5-foot-8 forward.

Aycock twice grabbed six-point leads in the opening half behind the guard play of Courtnei Gilbert and Kendra Speight, and junior forward Ivy Hartzell. Howell was virtually silent as the Trojans' inside duo of Whitney Williams and Annah Pierce prevented her from getting position for rebounds on either end of the court.

"That's going to happen to her a lot," said Romo of Howell. "She's got to learn how to adjust, and it took her a while (tonight). We had other players to step up and that's what you have to do as a team. We're never going to win one game off one kid.

"We've got to play together as a team all the time."

Howell finished with a double-double that included 11 rebounds. Gilbert pumped in eight points, while Hartzell and shooting guard Kelby Dumond contributed seven points apiece.

Dumond missed her first five shots behind the arc before drilling a critical 3-pointer off Speight's assist in overtime. The long-range bucket put Aycock ahead, 38-37, after South Johnston guard Courtney Wood swished a jumper to start the extra period.

The Trojans knotted the game at 38-38 on Williams' free throw, but wouldn't score again. Hartzell (10 rebounds) and Howell controlled the boards, and the Golden Falcons scored the final five points of the contest.

"We were just tired," said South Johnston head coach Rhonda Langdon, whose team expended energy in a double-digit rout of Southern Wayne just 24 hours earlier.

"We battled and I'm proud of them. When you're tired, you're going to make mistakes that you normally don't make. Not taking anything away from them (Aycock), by no means, because they were aggressive."