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4A Girls: Butler listens to football coach, dominates
RALEIGH – Butler High football coach Mike Newsome surprised his school’s girls basketball team at practice Thursday at the Grady Cole Center.
He pulled the team together, showed off the N.C. 4A championship ring his team won in December, and gave the Bulldogs a simple message.
“Just don’t go to states,” Newsome said. “Go dominate.”
Butler took that message to heart.
The Bulldogs scored the first 13 points against previously unbeaten Morrisville Green Hope Saturday and were never threatened. Butler won 87-61, led by as many as 31 points and won its first girls basketball state championship. It was the second straight title by a county team and third in five years. South Mecklenburg won in 2006. West Charlotte won in 2009.
The Bulldogs scored more points than any girls 4A team in championship history and won by the widest margin in the 4A finals since Morganton Freedom beat Fayetteville Sanford 80-59 in 1994.
Only one team, in any class, scored more points than Butler: High Point Central beat North Iredell 101-61 in 1993.
“We wanted to take them out early,” said Butler junior All-America Cierra Burdick. “We didn’t want them to have any hope.”
The quick start took care of that. Green Hope (31-1) missed its first five shots and had five turnovers while Butler took its 13-0 lead to start the game. Power forward Quay Barrino (15 points, 9 rebounds on 7-for-9 shooting) scored eight of Butler’s first 13.
“We knew (our size) would be an advantage,” Butler coach Stephanie Butler said, “and Quay got off to a good start down low. She asked me in the middle of the week if I had confidence in her. I do. She used to be a sprint champ and a lot of people don’t know that. She just hasn’t played as hard as she could. Tonight, she did.”
Green Hope’s Kristin Gaffney (25 points) and Caitlyn Ranson (21) had strong games, but the Falcons shot 35 percent for the game and were out-rebounded 49-19. Butler scored 50 points in the paint, compared to Green Hope’s 19.
Bulldogs senior Clair Watkins had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and three steals, and Burdick had 28 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Best of all, for Butler, they heeded Newsome’s message.
“We really tried to,” Burdick said. “We tried to hard to get them out early.”
Green Hope 9 10 22 20 -- 61
Butler 22 20 21 24 -- 87
GREEN HOPE 61 – Forbes 7, Paul 6, Caitlyn Ranson 21, Kristen Gaffney 25, Sowards 2
BUTLER 87 – Sanders 5, Cierra Burdick 28, Clair Watkins 20, Blandon 2, Quay Barrino 15, Atkinson 6, Mayhana Dunovant 11
Eastern MOP: Kristen Gaffney
Western MOP: Clair Watkins
Game MVP: Cierra Burdick
2A BOYS: West Caldwell struggles shooting in loss to Kinston
RALEIGH – Kinston was seen as a heavy favorite in its N.C. 2A state championship meeting with West Caldwell at N.C. State Saturday.
But, for a little while, the Warriors were making Kinston fans sweat at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Vikings were down three points late in the first quarter, before putting on one of the best defensive performances in N.C. championship history.
Kinston (28-4) won its seventh state title in school history 51-29, limiting West Caldwell to 15 points in the last 21 minutes and 1 second of the game.
At one point, West Caldwell (27-3) went nearly 13 minutes without scoring. They were up 14-11 after Jeff Battle’s layup with 5:01 left in the first half. They didn’t score again until Shaquan Fogle’s layup with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
By then Kinston was up 22-16. West Caldwell missed six of its next eight shots and was down 37-20.
The Warriors had the lowest point total by a losing team in the championship since 1950, when Camp Lejeune beat Matthews in the Class B championship 37-25.
West Caldwell shot 26.7 percent for the game, was out-rebounded 32-23 and only had two assists.
Western most outstanding player Kendall Jones of West Caldwell struggled with his shot, like his team did. He finished 4-for-18 and made 1-of-8 three-point attempts. Teammate Tyler Witherspoon made 4-of-8 shots and had nine points. Jeff Battle had seven rebounds.
Kinston got 15 points from Dallas Best, 10 points and 6 rebounds from Dory Hines and 15 points and 10 rebounds from McDonald’s All-American and game MVP Reggie Bullock. Bullock, who will play at North Carolina next season, made 5-of-13 shots. He had three steals and one block
Kinston 7 13 14 17 -- 51
W. Caldwell 10 4 6 9 -- 29
KINSTON 51 – Brown 2, Dory Hines 10, Dallas Best 15, Bernoit 7, Reggie Bullock 15, Bradshaw 2
WEST CALDWELL 29 – KJ Jones 11, Witherspoon 9, Battle 2, Fogle 2, Z. Steptoe 2, Michaux 3
Eastern MOP: Dory Hines
Western MOP: Kendall Jones
Game MVP: Reggie Bullock, Kinston
2A GIRLS: Salisbury's third quarter D spells second straight ring
RALEIGH – At halftime of the N.C. 2A girls high school basketball championship, Salisbury coach Andrew Mitchell came into the locker room and challenged his team to hold East Bladen scoreless in the third quarter.
East Bladen came into the game unbeaten in 29 games, and was making its third championship appearance in four years. Mitchell knew he was asking a lot, but he was dead serious.
“We wanted to try to hold a good team scoreless,” Mitchell said. “It was street ball, just playing hard.”
On the way to an easier-than-it-sounds 49-37 win, Mitchell’s Hornets held East Bladen to four points in that third quarter, turning a 28-20 halftime lead into a 42-24 cushion. That defensive performance gave Salisbury (29-0) its second straight state title and its third since 2004.
Salisbury, No. 3 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 behind Butler and East Mecklenburg, has played in four of the past seven state finals and has finished unbeaten twice. The 2004 team finished 31-0.
Salisbury only shot 31 percent in Saturday’s game, but outrebounded East Bladen 39-29 and forced 24 turnovers. Salisbury also had a 22-7 advantage in offensive rebounds.
East Bladen got 17 points and 12 rebounds from C.J. Melvin and 13 points and 6 rebounds from Jazmine Kemp, a pair of juniors who could lead the team to a third straight state final appearance next year in Chapel Hill.
Salisbury got 11 points, three steals and three rebounds from Ashia Holmes, six points and 10 rebounds from Jessica Heilig and 14 points, four rebounds and two assists from championship MVP Shanequa “Bubbles” Phifer, who had 15 in last season’s 56-41 win over Graham.
“Last year, I told the (seniors on the 2008-09 team) that I would get them one, and this year the team got me one,” Phifer said.
East Bladen 6 14 4 13 -- 37
Salisbury 8 20 14 7 -- 49
EAST BLADEN 37 – Murchison 2, Jazmine Kemp 13, C.J. Melvin 17, Montgomery 2, Shipman 2, Dockery 1
SALISBURY 49 – Ashia Holmes 11, Shanequa “Bubbles” Phifer 14, Ayanna Holmes 5, Rankin 6, Heilig 6, Richardson 4, Miller 2, Feamster 1
Eastern MOP: CJ Melvin, East Bladen
Western MOP: Ayana Holmes, Salisbury
Game MVP: Phifer, Salisbury
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Posted by Observer Sports at 11:43 AM