02/21/12 — D.H. Conley - Aycock Girls

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D.H. Conley - Aycock Girls

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 21, 2012 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Few teams appreciate the privilege of playing in the postseason the way Charles B. Aycock does.

A program that won just four games when its current group of seniors were freshmen, the Golden Falcons fully understand the hard work required to rebuild from the ground up.

Perhaps that is why with its season hanging in the balance on Monday night, C.B. Aycock never panicked. The Golden Falcons rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit for a 56-47 win over D.H. Conley in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A girls' basketball playoffs.

The Vikings trailed 17-12 early in the second quarter before fighting back to tie the game at 21-21 on Teshina Carmon's layup just before halftime.

Conley took its first lead of the game at 24-21 on Alex Hobgood's 3-pointer in the opening moments of the second half. Jessica McBeth's jump shot capped a 12-5 run that gave the Vikings their largest lead of the night, 37-29. During that stretch, Aycock went stagnant on offense, committed costly turnovers and struggled to get stops defensively.

"We were able to hang on and keep it close," Golden Falcons' head coach Laura Romo said. "They made a run and we just kind of hung in. That's basketball. They make a run and you've got to be able to answer."

Freshman Myleah Jones sank three of four free throws in the final 77 seconds of the third quarter and Aycock trailed 37-32 entering the final eight minutes.

The Golden Falcons (16-6 overall) discovered some patience offensively in the final quarter. Aycock patiently moved the ball in its half-court offense and worked to get to the free throw line. The Golden Falcons went 12 for 14 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter and forced the Vikings (13-10) into 10 turnovers.

Quanika Artis' layup off a steal finished off a 13-4 Aycock run and gave the Golden Falcons the lead for good at 45-43 with three minutes to play. Aycock made seven of eight free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes and outscored Conley 24-10 in the fourth quarter.

"It wasn't until the fourth quarter that we finally started getting into a half-court offense and that was the difference in the game," Romo said. "We had been saying the whole game, 'go to the basket,' and we finally started to do that.

"I can't remember the last time Aycock's girls won a playoff game and I'm happy for them. They've made steps and you can't ask for more from these kids."

Imari Howell led the Golden Falcons with 20 points and nine rebounds. Jones contributed 12 points and Artis and Kayla Newsome both had eight points.

McBeth scored 14 points for the Vikings.