Cayla King led all scorers with 25 points and Elizabeth Kitley added 24 to propel #2 Northwest Guilford to an 80-40 win over #10 Dudley in the sectional finals of the NCHSAA 4-A girls basketball playoffs Saturday night. The Vikings played strong defense and scored all over the floor in the victory, while the Panthers struggled to show the mettle that got them to the playoffs.
The Vikings led the Panthers 19-8 in the opening frame with Northwest’s King single-handedly outscoring Dudley in the first quarter with nine points.
Things didn’t get any easier for the Panthers as the night went on. The Vikings, firing on all cylinders, spread out their offensive attack. The perimeter play of the guards, King and junior Lindsay Gauldin, kept the Panthers from adding extra coverage on Kitley. The trio of King, Kitley and Gauldin accounted for 30 of Northwest’s 44 first half points.
In the second half, Northwest’s Kitley fought hard inside and scored 11 second half points to pace the Vikings. Cayla King added 8, and Gauldin contributed 9 to seal the victory.
For Dudley, Teara Johnson was the leading scorer with 15 points. Kierra Beasley scored nine and Johnson’s sister, Sequoyah, finished the game with four points.
The Vikings got a scare early in the fourth quarter when Cayla King, negotiating a screen, bumped legs with Dudley’s Kierra Beasley, and immediately fell to the floor. The Vikings’ guard was taken out of the game and did not return.
Northwest head coach Darlene Joyner said postgame that King was being treated for a “muscle injury” and that “no bone was involved”.
“We’re sending her home on crutches as a precaution,” Joyner said of King’s injury. “We put some ice on her, but (King) is a tough girl and I think you will see her again on Tuesday.”
Although the Vikings held their breath when King went down in the final eight minutes, the team was all smiles as they rolled to an 80-40 victory.
“When you’ve got scoring from all avenues on the floor, it’s tough to beat, especially when you put great defense on the end of it,” Joyner said of the win.
Coach Joyner has never doubted her team’s talent.
“We have marquis players that are coming into their own,” Joyner said. “We knew at the beginning of the year that we’re going to get more confident and better with every win.”
Although the Panthers’ season has come to an abrupt end, Dudley head coach Frank McNeil was happy with the run his team made.
“This team really pulled together and did some phenomenal things,” McNeil said. “I’m proud of each and every one of the young ladies.”
The Vikings will play again on Tuesday night at home, in Roger Nelson Gymnasium, against the #4 seeded Ardrey Kell Knights. The tipoff is scheduled for 7pm.
Qua: 1 2 3 4 – Final
DUD- 8 6 9 17 – 40
NWG- 19 25 16 20 – 80
Cayla King: 25 pts
Elizabeth Kitley: 24 pts
Lindsay Gauldin: 19 pts
Bria Gibbs: 8 pts
Thalia Carter: 2 pts
Tiffani Thorpe: 2 pts
Teara Johnson: 15 pts
Kierra Beasley: 9 pts
Sequoyah Johnson: 4 pts
Rayon Richards: 3 pts
LeAna Hunt: 3 pts
Iysis Whitfield: 2pts
Shaquasia Taylor: 1 pt