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An 8-0 start to the game Tuesday night put the Fike varsity girls basketball team in good position early against visiting Greenville J.H. Rose.
But that good standing deteriorated quickly from there in an eventual 43-26 nonconference loss. The 3-A Big East Conference Lady Golden Demons’ (2-4) final basket of the first quarter — which gave them a 10-4 lead — became their last of the first half, while the 3-A Rampants of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference got hot on what turned out to be a 20-2 run that led into halftime.
“We didn’t get back on defense as well and we didn’t play as a team,” Fike point guard Caitlyn Graziani explained. “They got ahead of us and we let them get in our heads.”
The Rampants’ Ania Sands, who scored all four of her team’s four points in a low-scoring first quarter, led the way with six more as Rose springboarded to double up the Demons at 20-10 at the half.
Out of halftime, the shooting struggles continued for the home team. Though not for a lack of shots taken, the drought lasted into its 13th minute before a basket with 3:43 left in the third quarter ended what had already been a night the host team wanted to forget.
Turnovers, missed shots and what started to become dissipating confidence turned out to be what took away Fike’s chance to compete for victory.
“We came out prepared for them and defensively I think we were, but the ball just wasn’t going in the hoop at all tonight and there’s not much you can do about that,” head coach Jeff Nelson said.
By the time Fike scored its first basket since the first quarter, Rose led by 20 points. That lead continued to climb in the closing minutes, as the Demons scored 11 points the final quarter.
Playing without Brikayla Whitaker, who has a concussion, left the Lady Demons with lower numbers than usual. When the baskets stopped falling, the roster lost its confidence, something Nelson said his team will have to gain back quickly.
Fike will play at C.B. Aycock on Wednesday and then at D.H. Conley in Winterville on Friday — a tough slate for a team that could use extra time to get shots up.
“They’ve got to maybe get some baskets,” Nelson said. “And then if they can make a couple, maybe their confidence will be up. When they miss two or three, they miss an easy one, then it starts becoming mental. That’s what you get a lot with high school students, you get a lot of the mental game they have to work on.”
Greenville Rose (43)
Sands 12, Bacon 10, Brown 12, Philips 2, Hardy 3,
Anderson 7, Graziana 8, Barber 4, Lamm 2, Curlings 3, Lentz 2,
Score by quarters:
Rose 4 16 15 8 — 43
Fike 10 0 5 11 — 26