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AREA ROUNDUP: Ellis, Battle rally Lady Cougars past Nash Central in EPC opener

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PINETOPS — Foul-plagued senior Shayla Ellis and freshman Jada Battle combined to score all 17 points in the fourth quarter in the host SouthWest Edgecombe High varsity girls basketball team’s 50-44 come-from-behind win against Nash Central on Tuesday night in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opener for both teams.

The Lady Cougars never led until the final quarter and, burdened with four fouls, the 5-foot-10 Ellis returned to action with some six minutes left. Ellis responded with eight points and crucial rebounds in the last quarter and Battle fired in nine points.

In launching defense of their regular-season championship, the Lady Cougars posted their fifth consecutive win and upped their record to 6-3. Nash Central, which played in the 3-A Big East Conference last season, dipped to 5-7.

“We struggled tonight,” said SouthWest head coach Sandra Langley. “I didn’t think we played particularly well. We had too many turnovers the first half and Shayla got into foul trouble. We really needed her that fourth quarter.”

Up 13-12 after one quarter, the Lady Cougars fell behind 25-19 at halftime with Ellis on the bench with two fouls and Nash Central star Robbi Allen hurling in an accurate shot from well beyond mid-court at the halftime buzzer. SouthWest closed the deficit to 36-33 after three quarters.

Also pivotal for SouthWest the second half was limiting Allen to six points after a 19-point explosion the first half.

“We played a little bit of zone in the second quarter,” Langley noted. “We played more zone in the second half, and I liked the way it looked.”

Battle sparkled with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and eight steals. She sank 9 of 15 free throws. Ellis, who picked up her third and fourth fouls in the third quarter, managed 14 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Alonee Smalllwood, a 6-foot freshman, claimed eight rebounds.

The Lady Cougars converted 15 of 26 free throws as compared to 4 of 6 for Nash Central. However, Langley noted the Lady Bulldogs fouled frequently in the closing minutes to stop the clock.

Allen, A 5-8 senior, finished with game-high 25 points for Nash Central.. Junior Kayalin Mitchell netted 10 points.

NASH CENTRAL (44)

Allen 25, Mitchell 10, Thompson 6, Anstead 1, Fox 1, Roughton 1.

SOUTHWEST EDGECOMBE (50)

Battle 23, Ellis 14, Davis 7, A. McKinney 4, William 2, Smallwood.

Score by quarters:

Nash Central 12 13 11 8 — 44

SW Edgecombe 13 6 14 17 — 50

Ladybirds lose at South Granville

STANHOPE — Despite a layoff of more than two weeks, the Southern Nash varsity girls basketball team kept up with visiting South Granville for the first half of Tuesday’s nonconference game.

However, turnovers plagued the 3-A Big East Conference Ladybirds in the second half, sending them to a 59-36 defeat, their 11th straight without a win. The 2-A Lady Vikings of the 1-A/2-A Northern Carolina Conference evened their mark at 7-7.

Shontell Nicholson’s 14 points led Southern Nash while Kayla Peace paced South Granville with 16 points.

The Ladybirds are scheduled to tip off Big East play at home Friday against Fike, weather permitting.

SOUTH GRANVILLE (59)

Bryant 6, Peace 16, A. Jackson 4, Mangum 13, Chamberlain, Coleman 1, Bryan, T. Jackson 5, Patrick 12, Mobley 2.

SOUTHERN NASH (36)

Nicholson 14, Newkirk 2, McClaston 4, Bailey 5, Winner 7, Williams 4.

Score by quarters:

South Granville 9 15 22 13 — 59

Southern Nash 7 13 7 9 — 36

BOYS BASKETBALL

SouthWest drops ECP opener, 62-57

PINETOPS — The host SouthWest Edgecombe High varsity boys basketball team chopped a double-digits deficit in the fourth quarter to three points before dropping a 62-57 decision to Nash Central in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opener for both teams Tuesday night.

The Cougars saw their winning streak snapped at four games in dropping to 4-5 in all games. Nash Central improved to 8-5.

SouthWest’s scheduled game Wednesday night against county rival North Edgecombe has been postponed because of the prospect of wintry weather and, weather permitting, it visits conference foe North Pitt on Friday night.

The Cougars of head coach Shelton Langley possessed a 11-10 edge after one quarter, but trailed 48-39 entering the final quarter. The deficit grew to double digits.

However, SouthWest pulled within three point with approximately two minutes remaining.

Still down by three points, the Cougars managed two possessions. The first one ended with two missed free throws and the second with an off-target shot from 3-point range.

Langley also noted SouthWest missed a couple of shots from some two feet out and, in the closing minutes, missed the front end of one-and-one attempts at the foul line. Leading scorer Savion Staton, reported Langley, was not as effective as usual in finishing drives.

The Cougars wound up with four scorers in double figures, led by Staton, a senior, with 16 points. Senior Delonte Cobb tossed in 15 points, junior Keshon Pitt 11 and senior Kieshon Porter 11.

However, SouthWest could not withstand a 26-point assault from Bulldogs senior Tim Bridgers. Senior Jay Smith added 10 points.

NASH CENTRAL (62)

Jones 7, Styles 5, Bridgers 26, Brown 9, Phillips 3, High 2, Smith 10.

SOUTHWEST EDGECOMBE (57)

Staton 16, Cobb 15, Pitt 10, Porter 11, Lewis 5, Williams, Collins, Dunn, Jones, Harris, Bandy.

Score by quarters:

Nash Central 10 24 14 14 — 62

SW Edgecombe 11 17 11 18 — 57

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