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Improved transition and a box-and-one defense keyed the host Fike High varsity girls basketball team to a 46-30 nonconference triumph against neighboring SouthWest Edgecombe on Wednesday evening.
The second victory of the young season against the Lady Cougars of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference boosted Fike of the 3-A Big East Conference to 7-1 going into Friday night’s road test against East Wake. SouthWest departed 1-3.
“I am satisfied with the record,” commented first-year Fike head coach Jeff Nelson, “and I am getting more satisfied with the game plan.”
Fike never trailed after building a 11-4 lead after one quarter. The margin was 19-11 at halftime behind the scoring of Teresa Kent and Jah’Asia Pernell.
With the Lady Golden Demons out front 19-13 in the third quarter, Fike spurted to leads of 27-14 and 32-18 behind guard Jada Lee, Navaeh Barbee and the 6-foot-2 twin towers of junior Ashley Sage and senior Mason Blake.
The Lady Cougars drew no closer than 11 points in the final quarter despite the efforts of 5-foot-10 senior Shayla Ellis, who proved a difficult defensive assignment for Fike’ big girls.
“We were making more of our layups,” Nelson explained. “Mason had some big baskets in the second half. Last time, were not running our man offense well. Today, we were running it better and it showed.”
More offensive involvement from Blake and Sage was a point of emphasis.
“We need to tsry to get our bigs more touches,” Nelson said. “That helps the guards out. That takes some of the pressure off and they can do more things.”
Pernell continued to develop as an offensive threat, leading the Fike scoring with 11 points. Lee managed eight points, seven rebounds and five assists. Sage recorded two blocks.
Ellis led SouthWest with 13 points — all in the second half. Sophomore Bailey Davis netted 11. Ellis and Davis were the subject of Fike’s box-and-one defense.
“We really struggled to put everything together,” admitted legendary SouthWest head coach Sandra Langley. “There’s a lot of youth out there. We’ve definitely got to work at the guard positions and we are trying to get the team to play four quarters consistently. We play a lot like Shayla plays. We are a work in progress.”
SW EDGECOMBE (30)
Davis 11, Ellis 13, Battle 4, K. Williams, A. McKinney 1, Smallwood 1, Lewis, Glass, N. McKinney
Graham, Holley 2, Lee 8, Williams, Barbee 6, Kent 7, Pernell 11, Sage 6, Thigpen 4, Blake 4.
Score by quarters: