Lady Vikings Beat Southwest Guilford, Headed to State Championship
Guilford County Schools and the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference were well represented Saturday night in Fleming Gymnasium on the campus of UNCG for the Women’s 4A West Regional Final. The undefeated Northwest Guilford Vikings took on the Southwest Cowgirls for the NCHSAA Women’s 4A West Regional Final.
The Vikings and Cowgirls both last played on Tuesday, with Northwest beating Charlotte Myers Park by a score of 59-43, and Southwest upsetting Ardrey Kell 51-46.
The Cowgirls were looking to keep their Cinderella season alive making a run to the Regional Final as the No. 18 seed. The only team left for the Cowgirls to defeat in order to advance to next Saturday’s state championship game was conference rival and undefeated Northwest Guilford.
The Vikings, however, had other plans, and proved why they have yet to lose a game all season Saturday night.
The Cowgirls opened the scoring with a blazing three-pointer from Lauren Carter only 30 seconds into the game, followed by a bucket by Tea Medley. Northwest’s first basket came on a jumper by freshman Cayla King a minute-and-a-half into the game. Following the three early baskets, the game got sloppy. The two teams showed signs of jitters from playing in front of a big crowd in a big game on a big stage. Northwest showed its mettle by settling down more quickly than the Cowgirls and jumped out to a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Seniors Morgan Pointer, Hayley Barber, and Toni Tucker all agreed they were nervous at the beginning of the game, but once they calmed down and the game started flowing, they played better.
The second quarter went back and forth. It appeared as though Southwest had finally overcome their butterflies and began to keep up with the Vikings’ pace. The big boost of the second quarter came from Northwest’s Savannah Neas who came off the bench to hit three three-pointers to extend her team’s lead each time. Although Neas and the Vikings played a solid second quarter, the Cowgirls stayed in the game, scoring only three points less than Northwest in the second frame.
In the third quarter, the Vikings continued to play fast-paced basketball and their signature hard defense, answering every shot the Cowgirls made. Northwest led by as many as 13 points, but with 18 seconds left in the quarter, LaShonda Monk hit a jumper to bring the Vikings’ lead back to 11. The score at the end of the quarter was 42-31 Northwest.
Southwest’s leading scorer, Monk, got into foul trouble in the third quarter, and picked up her fourth foul early in the fourth quarter, hampering the Cowgirls attempt at a comeback.
“ LaShonda Monk had four (fouls), and we had a couple with three,” Cowgirls head coach Nick Scarborough said. “They started getting fatigued. They were just too tired, and we had a tough go of it.”
The Cowgirls were outscored 16-10 in the final eight minutes, and the Vikings won by a convincing final score of 58-41.
“I thought the girls played really well, especially on defense,” Northwest head coach Darlene Joyner said. “Defensively they were solid and that’s why we’re here: our defense.”
Depth and discipline “is something that we bank on,” Joyner continued. “That discipline on our defense. Offensively we have a lot of good stuff in play. It’s a matter of poise with the basketball and confidence. I think the kids came out very confident today. I think the poise and confidence is why we’re here. That’s how we got here, and that’s how we have to continue.’’
Savannah Neas finished with 12 points on four three pointers.
“Making that first one pumped me up and motivated me,” Neas said. “I knew this game was ours.”
“I’m extremely proud [of my team],” Southwest’s Scarborough said. “We knew coming in that we had a very talented team. We got hot at the right time.
“We didn’t do a very good job of boxing out tonight and that was the difference in the game,” he said.
A somber Scarborough said he looks forward to next year.
“The beauty of it is I want them to not dwell on it but remember this feeling because that will be motivation coming back [next season]. We have all of our players coming back so now we have an idea of what it takes to get here.”
Southwest Guilford finishes the season with a (22-10) record. Northwest’s record improves to (30-0) as they travel to the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill on Saturday at 5pm to play Raleigh Millbrook in the 4A Women’s State Championship game for the first time in school history.
LaShonda Monk: 15pts, 4 reb
Tea Medley: 13pts, 4 reb
Lauren Carter: 10 pts
Faith Price: 2pts, 1 reb
Camryn Briley: 1 pt, 1 reb
Hayley Barber: 14 pts, 3 reb, 1 asst
Cayla King: 14pts, 2 reb, 6 asst
Savannah Neas: 12pts
Morgan Pointer: 8pts, 14 reb, 1 asst
Toni Tucker: 7 pts, 1 reb
Bria Gibbs: 3 pts, 11 reb