• 72°

Gates Co. girls win

The Lady Red Barons of Gates County High School wrapped up one of four playoff spots for the 1-A Tar-Roanoke Conference in the upcoming post-season Tuesday night as they completed their home regular-season with a 44-26 win over Louisburg.

Dashanna Duggins led all scorers with 22 points, 11 in each half. The output follows up her 32-point performance against Weldon last week.

Ashley Goodman, the Lady Barons’ lone senior, closed out her home career with nine points. Teammate Erica Bradley also had nine while Jasmine Raynor scored four.

Shanique Lassiter was the only Louisburg player in double-figures with 10.

“After their showing in the (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty) Tournament over the holidays they came into our conference season with their heads held high,” said first-year coach Susan Brown. “And they’ve just built upon that belief that ‘Yes we can’.”

The Lady Barons finished as runner-up in the tournament to eventual champion, Bertie.

Gates wasted little time breaking open a close game in the first quarter, tallying nine points thanks to their pressure defense forcing Louisburg turnovers and following up their misses with tough offensive rebounding. Their one-three-one zone defense also paid off as they led 9-5 after the first eight minutes of play.

Louisburg made a run in the second quarter to get the deficit to three, but Gates then went on a 6-0 run of their own and closed strong to take a seven-point lead, 21-14, at halftime.

In the third quarter Gates built a lead of as many as 10. Louisburg could never sustain a drive and Gates’ defensive rebounding led to a couple of fast-break runs to push the lead out to 13 at 32-21 going into the final quarter.

In the fourth frame it was all shut-down defense as Gates ran their motion offense and Goodman and Duggins collected several easy buckets in the paint on back-door plays. The Lady Barons’ defense also stepped up big, limiting their opponents to just five points as Gates made it a rout in the closing minutes for the 18-point victory, and their eighth win in league play, upping their record to 11-12.

“We’ve learned to work together,” added Brown, “and even though we’re still very young with just one senior even our freshman have grown as basketball players mentally because they’ve learned how to ‘speak’ basketball.”

“Once we passed it on the wing all 300 people in the gym knew where we were going to throw it next,” said a disappointed Louisburg coach, Chris Davis. “We didn’t do anything to make them guard us.

“We were also one-for-eleven from the free-throw line at halftime,” he added, “and if you make 70 percent of those, it’s just a one or two point game like it was the last time we played. I guess inexperience is what gave this one away.”

Gates County closes out its regular-season on the road Friday night in Leggett against North Edgecombe.