02/21/12 — Princeton - Red Springs girls

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Princeton - Red Springs girls

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 21, 2012 1:48 PM

PRINCETON -- Find Savanna Massengill.

Force some turnovers.

Massengill tallied 13 of her game-high 17 points in the opening quarter and Princeton eliminated Red Springs, 60-48, from the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A girls' basketball playoffs Monday evening.

The Bulldogs, the No. 8 seed in the Mideast region, travel to top-seeded Lakewood on Wednesday. Game time is 7 p.m.

Massengill shot 5 of 8 from the floor and converted 3 of 4 free throws as Princeton grabbed a 15-6 advantage after one period. The Bulldogs picked the Red Devils for five steals, which led to either transition buckets or high-percentage shots in their half-court offense.

"Our press worked well tonight," second-year PHS head coach Marty Gurganus. "They beat us a few times throwing over top, but we made a couple of adjustments, got some steals and were able to attack the basket. Any time we can run our offense through Savanna, I feel like we're better.

"Even if she is not shooting it, just catching and kicking the ball back out to the open shooter, I think we just flow better. She's so unselfish and if she doesn't have a shot, she will kick it out to whoever the open teammate is."

Massengill, who was battling a virus, played sparingly the remainder of the game. The sophomore forward spent most of the third quarter in the locker room and returned to the bench with a towel draped around her neck.

By then, the Dawgs had seized control.

Hannah Woodard and Nicole Melvin combined for 11 third-quarter points as Princeton's lead swelled to 49-31.

"They're who I call my 'dirty' players because the things they do don't always show up on paper," grinned Gurganus.

Red Springs, the No. 9 seed from the Three Rivers 1-A/2-A Conference, opened the final period with an 12-1 run. Robyn McPhaul and Rocio Pecina each turned a steal into an uncontested layup, which capped the Red Devils' surge and forced Gurganus to burn a timeout with his team ahead 50-43.

The Dawgs answered with two quick baskets from Charley Cox off assists from Megan Gerrell, one of four seniors playing her final home game. Melvin, who logged 13 points, added two free throws and Red Springs (13-13) never threatened again.

Cox finished with 11 points. Gerrell played a superb floor game, dishing out eight assists and collecting four steals.