Round three for East Davidson and Thomasville
Mon. March 04, 2013 at 11:13 p.m. | By Mike Duprez
The Central Carolina Conference girls’ basketball tournament was held two weeks ago. On Wednesday in Greensboro, East Davidson and Thomasville might feel like they’re getting a do-over.
Only this time the stakes are much higher for the CCC rivals.
East and Thomasville will meet at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 2-A Western Regional semifinals at UNC-Greensboro’s Fleming Gym. The winner will advance to the championship game, which is being held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Greensboro.
It may be fitting that two CCC teams are still alive, given the competitive nature of the conference.
“I think our conference prepared us very well for the road to where we are right now,” said East coach Don Corry. “You had to bring it every night.”
The Bulldogs feel the same way.
“You had to bring your ‘A’ game every night,” said Thomasville coach Brandon Staton. “The other teams were just as good as you.”
Thomasville (20-5) won the CCC regular-season championship while East (20-9) took the conference tournament. The teams split their regular-season meetings, with East winning 58-46 on Jan. 11 and Thomasville prevailing 56-51 on Feb. 5.
East beat Atkins 56-49, High Point Andrews 54-46 and Cuthbertson 50-40 to reach Wednesday’s game. Thomasville beat Forbush 70-32, Forest Hills 62-42 and North Surry 56-43.
As would typically be the case for teams that both won three playoff games, East and Thomasville have multiple standout players.
Perhaps nobody stands out, literally, like East freshman sensation Bayley Plummer. The 6-2 center is averaging 15.9 points, 14.5 rebounds and 6.4 blocked shots per game. She has posted several triple-doubles and seems to be getting better as the year goes on.
“She really is,” Corry said. “At the beginning of the year, she was a little bit timid. She’s learned a lot this year. She’s going to be a factor that they’re going to have to deal with. They don’t have the size we do and we don’t have the speed they do.”
Thomasville senior point guard Joslyn Spires is the speed equivalent to Plummer’s size. A superb ball handler who can break down defenses, Spires, who is averaging 15.0 points per game, often beats opponents down the court for easy baskets. She can also pull up and hit jumpers.
“She’s our only senior and she’s been here before,” Staton said. “I told her she needed to step her game up. Our team follows where she goes. I’m proud of her for being a leader, for providing that spark.”
While the Bulldogs have to find a way to offset or neutralize Plummer, they have a lot else to worry about. Junior Jennifer Welborn is averaging 10.9 points, junior point guard Lori Morgan is averaging 9.8 points and 6.0 assists and freshman guard Madison Hallman is averaging 9.4 points. Morgan cut loose for 22 points in the win over Andrews.
“If they try to pack it inside, we’ll go to our outside game,” Corry said. “Lori went to the basket extremely well. We have an inside-outside game and our guards really understand that well.”
At the same time, opponents focus too much on Spires at their own peril.
Freshman forward Timber Tate is averaging 14 points a game and sophomore forward Christina Coleman is averaging 13.2 points. Both are capable of scoring in the 20s on any given night.
“They are doing a great job for us, both on offense and defense,” Staton said.
Staton also cited the rebounding of junior forward Meagan Kinley and on-ball defense of Kayla Johnson as being crucial to his team’s success.
It’s doubtful that there are any secrets to expose between the teams.
“It’s going to be tough playing them a third time,” Corry said. “Their team knows what we do and we know what they do.”
Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.