Gates ladies stop Northampton

Published 10:11 am Monday, January 7, 2013

GATESVILLE – New year, new attitude.

After closing out 2012 with a pair of losses in the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty, the Gates County High girls basketball team turned the page.

They also turned to the positive.

Despite those losses, Gates coach Kelli Boone told her team to use them as motivation for the rest of their season in 1-A Tar-Roanoke Conference play.

Dividends are already paying off.

The Lady Red Barons broke open a close game with league foe Northampton County Friday night in Gatesville and rolled their way to their second conference win of the season, 60-46.

Kierra Ballard scored 19 points to pace the Lady Red Baron scoring; while sister, Kaila Ballard, added 18 points along with 13 rebounds. Jaiven Knight had nine points and five steals.

Charnita Butcher led the Lady Jaguars – and all scorers – with 20 points while Shaquoria Miles added 10.

“We needed this win coming off the Christmas break,” said Boone. “It’s a conference win and it gives us a morale boost.

“Hopefully we’ll continue to get wins as long as we work hard in practice,” she added.

The hard work Friday night paid off early. Gates led 11-8 after the first quarter.

Gates came back to match that total in the second frame; Kaila opening the quarter making three of five free throws followed by a layup inside. However, Northampton got five points of their own to trail by five, 17-12.

After a Northampton layup by Margaret Peebles, Gates got the final five points of the half on a Kaila layup, a Knight free throw, and a steal and layup by Hannah Simpson.

The Lady Red Barons led at the break, 22-14.

Things got physical on the court between the two teams in the third quarter as 16 fouls were whistled – eight on each squad.

Gates opened with a 6-0 run, aided by a technical foul called on Northampton coach Jerry Squires, before Imone Shoulders broke the second half ice for the Lady Jags with a jump shot.

Though the game was slowed by the parade to the foul line, Gates managed to stay easily in command, building a lead of as many as 19 points (38-19) before closing out the quarter on a 7-2 run to lead by 18, 44-26.

Northampton won the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late to aid any sort of comeback. Gates’ biggest bulge was 22 points at the 3:00 mark, 58-36, before the Jags closed out the game outscoring the home team, 10-2.

“Turnovers and second-half foul trouble killed us,” said Squires. “In the end we stepped it up and I was impressed that we closed out the game with a good run.”

“Kaila makes a big difference for us,” said Boone. “She’s a team player who knows the game is not about herself, but about making her teammates better.”

Northampton fell to 1-12, and 0-2 in conference; while Gates upped their record to 5-7 with a 2-0 start in Tar-Roanoke league play.

The Barons are off until Friday at Weldon while Northampton tips off against Rocky Mount Prep Tuesday.