The Red Devil defense suffocated the Wildcat offense Wednesday.
Newton-Conover (13-1, 7-0) forced 15 Draughn turnovers in the first half and got 13 points each from Quazzy Tipps and Shynese Whitener in the first and second halves, respectively, to pull away for the Catawba 2A victory.
The opening moments of the game were close, and the biggest lead for either team was three points.
With the score 13-10 in favor Newton-Conover, the Red Devils started to utilize their deep bench. N-C head coach Jonathan Tharpe said the change was due in part to the long week ahead.
"We started doing that yesterday," Tharpe said. "Obviously, we have three games this week. We want to keep fresher legs because we need them for Friday's game. We have also been trying to get more kids in the rotation, so they some more get experience for down the line."
Freshening of the line up led to the Red Devils scoring seven straight points. Three of those came from Tipps and two from Samiya Pitts and Tiana Littlejohn. N-C led 20-10.
Draughn's Tessa Lechner connected on a last second buzzer-beater before the quarter ended, making it 20-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Draughn (9-8, 3-4) attempted second chance points from offensive rebounds to garner scoring chances, but didn’t convert.
N-C’s Tipps once again shined in the quarter, as she scored from the 3-point range and layups from offensive rebounds. She finished the half with 13 points.
Most scoring chances in the first half for Newton-Convoer came from turnovers created by a full court press and pressure defense. The Wildcats turned the ball over 15 times in the half, including eight in the second quarter.
Draughn offense got four points in the quarter, and it was a 31-16 lead for the Red Devils at the break.
"Defensively, that is our strong suit," Tharpe said. "We are going to live on that defense. We work on it all the time. The kids buy into moving their feet and getting their hands in the passing lanes."
Newton-Conover's Whitener remained quiet in the first half because of early foul trouble. She only scored four points in the first half, but broke out in the second half.
She scored 10 points in the third quarter to pace the Red Devils
"We have been struggling coming out in the first half as a team," Whitener said. "In the second half, I was just ready to play. We just worked the ball well and did what we had to do."
Tharpe admits Whitener was the focal point of many team's strategies, which affected her play.
"I'm glad in the second half that Shynese came alive and helped us out," Tharpe said. "She has been struggling lately. Teams have been really keying in on her and have been zoning us a lot."
N-C’s Tipps added 16 points for the Red Devils in the game. Those performances and a powerful defensive attack enabled Newton-Conover to cruise to the CVAA win.
Abby Robinson led Draughn with eight points. Heather Copeland, Lauren Duckworth and Haley Broadwell each scored seven points in the loss.