Tipps scores 18 points in victory

The Red Devils remain undefeated in the Catawba Valley Athletic 2A.

Despite a rough first half of shooting, the Newton-Conover girls' basketball team outscored East Burke 37-17 in the second half on their way to a 61-34 win.

Burke put the pressure on the Red Devils (9-1, 3-0) early and maintained a lead through most of the first quarter. Newton-Conover wouldn't scored their first basket until the midpoint of the quarter.

The Red Devils clawed their way back to tie the game at 9-9 with just over a minute remaining. They would take the lead after a Tiana Littlejohn jumper just before the break.

Mistakes in the first half cost the Red Devils many opportunities to score and build a lead. Arrant passes led to many turnovers.

"Offensively, both teams were out of sync," said N-C head coach Jonathan Tharpe. "I thought we were pressing ourselves too hard. I thought we tried to force a few things in the first half. Then we had some good opportunities and we lost the ball inside the paint. That is uncharacteristic of us. I think we were just a little off offensive in that first half."

Catawba Valley Classic MVP Shynese Whitener was held scoreless in the opening half of play and only scored three points in the game. However, her teammates helped pick up the slack.

Senior guard Quazzy Tipps connected on three 3-point shots in the opening half to help give her team the slight edge.

East Burke center Emily Greene kept her team in the hunt for a victory with eight first half points.

With just over a minute remaining in the first quarter though, both teams got a break due to the scoreboard malfunctioning. This gave both teams a chance to regroup and get back into their groove.

"We talked in the huddle about us not playing our game," Tipps said. "We just needed to get back on track. We just knew what we needed to do and we did it."

The Red Devils benefited greatly from the break and broke out of their slump. Leading the charge was Tipps, who connected on two 3-point shots in the second quarter to help pull her team ahead.

She led Newton-Conover with 11 points in the first half.

"Quazzy stepped up and hit those key threes, but I was mad at her for missing those layups," Tharpe said. "For her to step up and shoot the ball well tonight only helped us in that first half. We had to have that."

The Red Devils carried more momentum into the halftime break after a buzzer-beating layup by Samiya Pitts. She would be fouled on the play and connected on the free throw attempt to give her team a 24-17 lead at halftime.

Despite the late surge, Tharpe talked to his team at during the break and attempted to make some changes.

"In the locker room, we made some adjustments offensively," Tharpe said. "We talked about coming out and establishing ourselves in the third quarter. I think we did a great job of that."

Those adjustments seemed to work as the Red Devils scored the first six points of the third quarter.

Tipps continued her hot shooting from 3-point territory in the second half and would connect on her fourth of the game.

"At the beginning of the season, it was a rough start for me trying to get my shots to fall," Tipps said. "Coach just told me to believe in my shot. That is what I have been doing."

Tipps would finish with a game-high 18 points.

"I think she got into a good rhythm in the game and the girls found her on those looks. It was a good team effort definitely in the second half."

Kadesha Gibbs added nine points in the victory for Newton-Conover.

Greene scored 10 points in the loss for East Burke.