Dec 27, 2013
The Chapel Hill Lady Tigers used balanced scoring and a torrid defensive start Friday afternoon to down West Craven 76-52 and advance to the title game of the Mix 101.5 Girls Bracket in their first HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational appearance.
Four Chapel Hill players finished in double figures, and the Tigers scored the first nine points of the contest on their way to building a 32-5 advantage early in the second quarter.
The win sets up a championship game matchup with West Forsyth, who downed Broughton 70-56 in Friday's first semifinal. The teams will play at 4 p.m. Saturday at Broughton High School.
Junior guard Raziyah Farrington led Chapel Hill with 21 points. Senior Jamella Smith scored her 1,000th career point in the second quarter and finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Fellow senior Catherin Romaine tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks, and junior Tamia Eatmon scored 11 points.
Head coach Sherry Norris said she couldn't have been happier with the way her team started against the Eagles, a team Chapel Hill beat 59-51 in the 2013 NCHSAA 3-A Regional Final in March.
"We kind of knew what to expect playing West Craven. We knew the (Jamie) Cherry girl was just phenomenal," Norris said. "Our team has so many different facets, we're hard to stop. We played really great defense in the first quarter. In Chapel Hill, we're known for our defense. When you create great defense, it creates scoring opportunities."
West Craven settled down midway through the second quarter, slowly chipping away at the Chapel Hill advantage before and after halftime. The Eagles cut the lead to 10 points in the third and fourth quarters, but Chapel Hill pulled away at the free throw line late.
Smith said it was tough for Chapel Hill to keep its intensity up in the third and fourth quarters.
"We were really excited for the game today because we played them in the regional final," she said. "When we were winning by so much early on, it was kind of a relief."
West Craven head coach Dave Fernandez said Chapel Hill "smacked his team between the eyes" early on.
"We didn't respond very well early on, but that's why we're here. We need to find out what to improve on as our season goes on," he said. "Good or bad, we've got two months to get it together and get ready for a playoff run. All the credit to Chapel Hill. We didn't know what was going on."
UNC signee Jamie Cherry led West Craven with 32 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Kaylee Koerperich was the only other Eagle in double figures, finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
West Craven will finish the HSOT Invite Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. game against Broughton for third place. The game will be played at Cary Academy.
This story is closed for comments.