02/21/13 — Eastern Wayne girls easily defeat Southern Wayne

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Eastern Wayne girls easily defeat Southern Wayne

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 21, 2013 1:47 PM

Eastern Wayne earned the return trip to the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference girls' basketball tournament finals it desperately wanted.

But the Warriors' rematch with county rival Charles B. Aycock will have to wait. Tianna Christopher scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the second half and Eastern Wayne rolled to a 70-49 victory over Southern Wayne in semifinal-round play Wednesday evening.

The top-seeded Warriors (23-1 overall) play host to Triton in the tournament finals on Friday. Tip-off is 6 p.m. at New Hope.

Eastern Wayne lost to Aycock in the tournament championship a year ago.

"This opportunity is great," Warriors' head coach Tyrone Wagner said. "Getting back to the finals is great and we're looking forward to hopefully finishing what we weren't able to last season."

The Saints trailed 23-15 midway through the second quarter before using dribble penetration to fuel an 8-0 run that tied the game at 23-23.

Eastern Wayne closed the first half on a 12-2 run of its own and led 35-25 at halftime.

The state-ranked Warriors used both a zone and man-to-man press in the second half to create ball pressure and speed up the tempo. The result led to multiple Southern Wayne turnovers and easy transition baskets for Eastern Wayne.

The Warriors' advantage grew to 49-36 through three quarters.

"They pushed the issue a little bit and at that time the game was moving too fast for our girls," Saints' head coach Ricky Lofton said. "We just turned the ball over way too many times. We couldn't make a layup and we missed way too many free throws."

Christopher beat defenders off the dribble, knocked down open jump shots and earned her way to the free throw line in the second half.

"Tianna came through big for us as she has all year," Wagner said. "She started out the first few games kind of slow, but she made some big shots for us."

Jasmine Covington supplied 13 points for the Warriors and Elondia Grant had 11. Freshman Zaria Atkins led Southern Wayne with 14 points.

The two teams combined to shoot 39 for 82 at the free throw line.