02/26/13 — Warriors switch defensive tactics, take out Vikings

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Warriors switch defensive tactics, take out Vikings

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 26, 2013 1:47 PM

The zone press didn't work.

So, Eastern Wayne employed another tactic.

The Warriors switched to their hawking man-to-man scheme, created some turnovers and rode the momentum to a 69-48 triumph over Jacksonville White Oak in first-round action of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A girls' basketball playoffs Monday evening.

Eastern Wayne, the East's No. 1 seed, plays host to Currituck County on Wednesday evening. Tip-off is 5 p.m. at New Hope.

Jasmine Covington and Tianna Christopher collected 12 points apiece for the Warriors, who won a first-round postseason game for the second straight year. Elondia Grant and Nijah Muhammad each provided 10 points off the bench.

White Oak's Lyric Levester led all scorers with 19 points.

"I feel we didn't play well tonight, we had our moments but overall I'm just not satisfied," Eastern Wayne head coach Tyrone Wagner said. "We started out slow, we didn't do a good job of boxing out defensively and didn't move our feet well. They were prepared for a zone press."

The Vikings' height underneath the basket and their guards' ability to handle the Warriors' initial pressure defense caused some concern early. The teams worked to a 7-7 tie through four minutes until EW's Megan Mozingo drained a 3-pointer off an assist from Nijah Muhammad.

Grant followed with her first basket of the night to help Eastern Wayne claim a 14-10 lead after one period.

The Warriors (26-1 overall) changed to their man-to-man press, which immediately altered the tempo. Sophomore Jasmine Covington sparked a 19-6 run with back-to-back layups off of steals.

White Oak aided Eastern Wayne's cause by getting into foul trouble. Levester, Emily McLain and reserve Hailey Czigler spent the final four-plus minutes on the bench with three fouls apiece.

"We knew they were going to be fast with a couple of good shooters," White Oak head coach Carolyn Ashdown said. "They're tough girls and we felt we could hang with them from the beginning, but knew it was a matter of hanging with them the rest of the game.

"Getting in foul trouble hurt us and not making baskets on layups and off steals in the backcourt ... you could see things start to fall off."

The Warriors led 52-25 after three periods and Wagner found plenty of playing time for his bench in the last eight minutes.

Eastern Wayne forced 22 turnovers and picked White Oak for 17 steals. The Warriors converted 26 field goals and had nine assists as a team, but lost the rebounding battle 50-43.