02/24/12 — WCDS girls cruise into semifinals

View Archive

WCDS girls cruise into semifinals

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 24, 2012 1:48 PM

RALEIGH -- Same defense.

Different opponent.

Same result.

Yeah, seeing junk game plans are definitely becoming "old hat" to Wayne Country Day these days.

The Chargers played either three- or four-on-five and had no trouble dispatching Cresset Christian, 51-33, during quarterfinal-round play of the 2012 N.C. Independent Athletic Association 1-A girls' basketball playoffs Thursday afternoon.

WCDS (15-6 overall) opposes seventh-seeded Statesville Christian today at North Raleigh Christian Academy. Tip-off is 7 p.m. with a berth in Saturday's state championship game on the line.

"After last year, we learned that we wouldn't get caught with our pants down against any junk defense," chuckled WCDS head coach Eric Perry. "We've seen the box-and-one on Catherine (Ford) all year and since Sarah (Best) has gained some confidence, we've been seeing some triangle-and-two."

Neither strategy panned out for Cresset.

The third-seeded Eagles, as expected, started out in a box-and-one against Ford. Cresset's Stacie Smith drew the defensive assignment, but couldn't prevent Ford from recording a double-double -- 25 points, 18 rebounds.

Ford converted just six field goals, but constantly snuck in behind the slower Smith to grab offensive rebounds and get fouled on putback attempts. Ford shot 13 of 16 from the free throw line and the Chargers hit 19 of 30 attempts as a team.

"The reason we executed (today), the other four players on the court stepped up, not only them, but the bench players stepped up," Ford said. "The one thing in the last five or six games that's started to help us is we're playing as one unit instead of just five players (on the court).

"We're communicating better. We have confidence and believe we can win this tournament, think we're better than a number six seed."

Ford's two free throws gave the Chargers their biggest lead, 17-10, midway through the second period. Cresset climbed to within 17-15 on Melissa Devlin's 3-pointer and layup that came off Megan Weber's steal and assist.

Officials assessed a technical foul to the Eagles on the Chargers' next possession. Ford easily swished both free throws and then converted a basket off Best's assist at the halftime buzzer.

Despite the six-point margin, Perry expressed his discontent in the locker room. He wouldn't reveal what he said, but WCDS answered his challenge and put Cresset away in the third period.

The Eagles (23-6) opened the second half in a triangle-and-two with Devlin guarding Best and Smith still shadowing Ford. The duo combined for 12 points and three steals as WCDS blew the game open with an 18-4 run.

Mack Thompson and Hannah Pearson hit key baskets during the surge which helped propel the Chargers into their fourth consecutive final four. Thompson finished with 10 points.

"Our defense did not look good at the beginning," Thompson said. "Then, we came together. There's a saying that we have ... the court is an ocean and we have to make it to shore. I know it's lame, but it works and gets us hyped up.

"It gives us a sense of unison and everybody depends on each other now which did not happen at the beginning of the year. We're finally a team."