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Varsity girls basketball teams from host Community Christian School and DASH Homeschool played point-for-point before stark changes in the game’s complexion occurred in the second quarter Monday evening in Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf’s Barney Williamson Gym.
A.C. Batts, a 5-foot-11 junior, emerged an offensive force for DASH and, defensively, spunky seventh-grader Joelyn Bailey was the answer in shutting down senior Morgan Lane, the Lady Cyclones’ leading scorer.
The final three quarters belonged to the United in a 59-39 conquest of CCS of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A ranks.
CCS carried a 12-11 edge into the second quarter. However, seven consecutive points from the versatile Batts after a scoreless opening quarter ignited DASH. In the meantime, Lane failed to net a point in the last three quarters with Bailey hounding her about every step. Lane drilled in eight points in the opening quarter and her 3-pointer staked the Lady Cyclones to their one-point advantage.
“She goes to the basket so hard,” commented DASH head coach John Skinner of Batts. “She gets into foul trouble because of that and the fact she thinks she can block every shot. She makes us a different team — something we haven’t had.”
Indeed, CCS players were not accustomed to watching the opposing team’s tallest player snare the defensive rebound, dribble the basketball to the other end of the court and finish with a driving layup.
Batts finished with 15 points and at least double figures in rebounds. She was complemented by sophomore Alyse Skinner with 16 points and junior Emma Skinner with 12. Bailey contributed eight points.
“(Bailey) was only looking at (Lane),” John Skinner emphasized. “She was the third player we tried, and she was the best at it. She’s in very good condition and doesn’t get tired.
“I told the girls, if we can stop (Lane) from scoring, we have a great chance of winning. Once she stopped scoring, the rest of the team stopped looking for her.”
DASH, which is among seven teams competing in the North Carolinians for Home Education Athletic Conference (NCHEAC), seized its 11th win against nine losses. CCS, which visits The Oakwood School of Greenville for a Coastal Independents Conference clash Tuesday evening, dropped to 10-8.
The Lady Cyclones got 10 points each from seniors Anna Jackson and Olivia Bullard, who notched several steals.
“They’re not a bad team,” first-year CCS head coach Mark Kent said of DASH. “They were a lot faster and a lot more aggressive than we thought. (Bailey) was given a specific job to do — and she did it.
“They were allowed to play their style and we were unable to respond. We got out of rhythm early due to the flow of the game. We got out of sorts; the calls not made gave them fire and took our momentum away.”
Batts sent the United ahead for keeps in the second quarter. But the lead was only 20-18 until Alyse Skinner swished a 3-point shot; Emma Skinner sank a free throw and sophomore Logan Rose scored on a putback for a 26-18 margin with 1:20 left before halftime.
DASH boosted the cushion to 35-18 before CCS drew as close as 37-26 on a 3-pointer each from Jackson and Bullard.
A foulfest ensued and DASH mopped up at the foul line, sinking 19 of 24 free throws as compared to 7 of 26 for CCS.
“This one stings but it’s not the end of the season,” Kent admitted, “we had a good little win streak and we’ll start another one (Tuesday) night.”
DASH HOMESCHOOL (59)
L. Rose 6, Avery, A. Skinner 16, Bailey 8, N. Rose, Sessoms, Batts 15, E. Lambert 2, Handley, E. Skinner 12, G. Lambert.
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN (39)
Jackson 10, Bissette 4, Bullard 10, Lane 8, Pate, Winsstead, Langley 2.
Score by quarters: