The Wilson Prep girls basketball team continued to show its growth against NCHSAA 1-A Tar-Roanoke Athletic Conference rival North Edgecombe in the “Tigers Den” on Friday evening, but a poor start and inability to rebound sunk the Tigers as they dropped a 43-28 defensive battle.
The Tigers, who dropped to 1-10 overall and 1-8 in TRAC play, could not turn their first win of the season at KIPP Pride in Gaston on Wednesday into a streak. The Tigers played strong defense, especially in the second half, but trailed by 15 after the first quarter, and could not do enough to overcome that deficit the rest of the way, with the Tigers’ lack of ball security proving fatal.
“Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,” said Wilson Prep head coach Mike Ward. “When you have those kinds of turnovers, especially early on when you get behind when you don’t really have an excellent scorer, you can’t come back. We cut it back to 10, but then the turnovers started back.”
Morgan Braswell led Wilson Prep with 13 points. Diamond Wilson led the Warriors with 15 points, followed by Teana Ransome with 14.
The Tigers found themselves in a hole quickly in this one as North Edgecombe scored the game’s first nine points and held the Tigers off the scoreboard for the first 4:28 of the opening frame en route to taking a 19-4 lead after the first quarter.
“We just had so many unforced turnovers,” Ward said. “At one spell, we had five in a row. It just set the tone for them. We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, work on passing the ball around the trap and keep it moving. Once you try to dribble through it or try to throw passes that aren’t there, a lot of times we just took our time and dribbled the ball. There wasn’t a big rush trap, they were just doing a soft trap. It seemed like we panicked into overkill with the passes.”
Wilson Prep struggled to control the ball, with numerous turnovers turning into transition points for the Warriors.
The Tigers managed to keep the Warriors from widening their lead at halftime, with Barbour firing up her teammates by drilling a corner 3 at the first-half buzzer after some sharp passes up the court set her up.
The Tigers scored the first five points of the third quarter to get within 10 points, using a 2-3 zone defense to fluster the Warriors and keep them scoreless for over three minutes out of the locker room.
“Morgan Braswell was on both ends of the floor, and she was trying to will her way to rebounds and playing the best defense,” Ward said. “If everybody could have just picked up with her, they played flat. My upperclassmen kind of played flat from the beginning tonight. That’s what transitioned to those turnovers.”
After the Warriors took a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter, North Edgecombe opened the final frame by bleeding nearly four minutes off the clock by pulling down multiple offensive rebounds on the same possession and working the ball around the perimeter.
After both teams were scoreless through the first half of the quarter, the Warriors came up with six straight points to take an 18-point lead with under three minutes left and put the game away.
“We came out strong in the third quarter,” said Wilson Prep point guard Jessica Atkinson. “And then in the fourth quarter we just gave it up.”
Still, the Tigers knew they could take pride in fighting back in the second half.
“I love the fight in them,” Ward said. “They don’t quit, and they don’t give up, no matter what. They will not quit and they will not give up. They’re going to keep playing if they’re down by two or down by 50. They won’t quit. If we can keep that fight in them through this transition, this rebuilding year, I think next year, you’re going to see a big difference. And I’m looking forward to picking up another two, three, four (wins) the rest of the season.”
As the young team continues throughout this year, they know the hard lessons learned will be important to build on for the group in the future.
“We need ball basketball IQ,” Atkinson said. “Most of us are new into basketball, and we don’t really know. Some of the players don’t know what they’re doing on the court. We need shooting, better passes and getting back. Most of us are freshmen, some of us are juniors. We don’t have any seniors. So next year we’ll definitely be working in the offseason and we’ll be better.”
The Tigers will host Rocky Mount Prep on Tuesday.
NORTH EDGECOMBE (43)
Wilson 15, Ransome 14, Jenkins 5, Whitaker 4, Hyman 3, Vinson 2.
WILSON PREP (28)
Braswell 13, Edward 6, Barbour 4, Sewell 2, Pridgen 2, Atkinson 2.
Score by quarters:
N. Edgecombe 19 8 10 6 — 43
Wilson Prep 4 8 13 3 — 28