GASTONIA — While home to one of the biggest wins of his coaching career, Kings Mountain girls basketball coach Nicholas Inman couldn’t get over his team’s last two trips to Ashbrook’s Larry Rhodes Gymnasium.
Heading to Gastonia with hopes of a Big South 3A title, those aspirations were crushed each of the past two years by dominant Green Wave squads. Kings Mountain was back in its personal “house of horrors” Friday night, again looking to remove the biggest obstacle in its way of a conference championship.
Exorcising demons of season’s past, the Lady Mountaineers surged to the top of Big South 3A with a 45-41 win at Ashbrook. With the win, Kings Mountain (9-2, 6-0 Big South 3A) is the first league opponent to defeat Ashbrook at Larry Rhodes Gymnasium since the Lady Mountaineers accomplished the feat Feb. 5, 2019.
“In previous games, we’d let some things out of our control really take us out of what we were doing,” Inman said. “This time we didn’t allow those things to affect us as much. Whether it be missed shots, bad calls, turnovers, we didn’t allow ourselves to deflate and did enough to leave with a victory.
“This place is always tough. We’ve been on the bad side of some losses here the past couple years. It feels really good, because we know how tough it has been for us here of late.”
In its previous two trips to Ashbrook, Kings Mountain found itself on the wrong end of a pair of double-digit losses. The Lady Mountaineers never trailed this time around, boosted by a solid shooting night courtesy of Khalia King.
The junior guard set the tone with a pair of 3-pointers on her team’s first two possessions. She’d only get better as the night went along, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range on her way to a game-high 20 points.
“(King) really upped her game for us this season,” Inman said. “She started the game with some big shots to give us an early lead, and then she had a big shot with the game close and after Ashbrook got a big 3-pointer (from Yazarhi ‘ZaZa’ Mason). I cannot overstate how important she has been to us.”
Along with King, Catawba hoops recruit Saniya Wilson had 16 points, five assists and four rebounds in a winning effort.
Ashbrook will rue the many opportunities it didn’t capitalize on in the contest, particularly at the free throw line. The Green Wave finished 14-of-26 from the charity stripe Friday night against Kings Mountain.
“Yeah, we missed a bunch of free throws, but it wasn’t just that. It was missed lay-ups, shots missed from close range, ‘chippies’ we would usually make,” he said. “And despite all of that, we still had a chance late.”
Kennette Bess led Ashbrook (9-5, 5-1) with 15 points, with Mason adding 13 points and Madison Cole following with 10.
High school basketball
Burns 35, East Gaston 21: Tishiona Strong scored her 1,000th career point, helping the Lady Bulldogs to a win over East Gaston.
Concord Academy 69, Gaston Day 12: On her return to Gaston County, former Ashbrook standout Zoey Ward scored 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting to lead Concord Academy to victory.
East Lincoln 59, North Iredell 46: Kelsey Campo led with 18 points (four 3-pointers), while Hailey McFadden (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Madison Self (10 points, 11 rebounds) each earned double-doubles as the Lady Mustangs remained unbeaten in Western Foothills 3A competition.
Lincoln Charter 61, Mountain Island Charter 13: Lauren Horton had 18 points, while Kenzie Ross and Kallie Lusk each had 11 to lead the Eagles.
North Gaston 39, Stuart Cramer 38: North Gaston overcame a 15-point deficit to take a come-from-behind win over Stuart Cramer. The Lady Wildcats' Whitney Brown led all scorers with 19 points. Dasia Harris had 16 points and Hadley Womack added 14 for Stuart Cramer.
Piedmont Community Charter 61, Corvian Community 31: Grace East scored 19 points, Kennedy Williams had 14 and Hailey Moore added 13 as Piedmont Community Charter cruised to a win.
Clover 52, Nation Ford 26
East Burke at West Lincoln: No score reported.
Highland Tech at Bessemer City: Game postponed.
Hunter Huss at Crest: Game postponed.
Maiden 61, Lincolnton 31
South Point at Forestview: Postponed until Jan. 26.
East Gaston 75, Burns 63: McCaskill Rivers earned a double-double with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Trent Sherrill added 26 points and nine assists in a win over Burns. Chauncey Creamer followed with 11 points for East Gaston in the win.
East Lincoln 68, North Iredell 66: East Lincoln withstood a furious fourth quarter rally by North Iredell, holding on for a two-point win to remain unbeaten in Western Foothills 3A. Palmer Crichton and Drew Bean each had 12 points, with Jeremiah Jones and Landon Glezen each scoring 10. Logan Craig was 3-for-3 from deep range, along with seven assists.
Gaston Christian 70, Metrolina Christian 54: Jahseem Felton finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, Isaiah Tate had 16 points and Joe Rhyne added 12 to lead the Eagles past Metrolina Christian.
Gaston Day 70, Concord Academy 66: Chris Britt led all scorers with 27 points, with Callum Richard adding 22 and Evan Montanari following with 12 points as the Spartans moved to 17-1 on the season.
Lincoln Charter 83, Mountain Island Charter 62: Marcus Farley led all scorers with 27 points — including seven 3-pointers made for Lincoln Charter in a win over Mountain Island Charter. Elijah Burnett earned a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, with Kelan Flowers scoring a season-high 22 points. J.J. Moore finished with 16 points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists without committing a turnover.
South Point 55, Forestview 43: Jackson Blee (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Sullivan Absher (10 points, 13 rebounds) each earned double-doubles to lead South Point past Forestview. Cooper Ray and Jaquis Rumph added 10 points apiece for the Red Raiders. Nate Aguilar and Deviyus Harris-Byrd each had 11 points for Forestview, with Antwon Corbin adding 10.
Stuart Cramer 74, North Gaston 49: Will Kelly led the way with 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals, with Mason Craig adding 15 as Stuart Cramer downed North Gaston. John Hill also earned a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Corvian Community 72, Piedmont Community Charter 51
Kings Mountain 80, Ashbrook 50
Clover 52, Nation Ford 42
East Burke at West Lincoln: No score reported.
Maiden at Lincolnton: Game postponed.
West Iredell at North Lincoln: No score reported.
You can reach Joe Hughes at 704-914-8138, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @JoeLHughesII.
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Quick Hits: Kings Mountain girls down Ashbrook, take Big South 3A lead