Lady Red Devils win ugly game, advance to finals

In a game that included a combined 40 fouls and 50 turnovers, the Newton-Conover girls basketball team survived an early scare from South Iredell to advance to Friday's CVAC 2A tournament final with a 65-37 victory.

The Lady Red Devils (23-3) will meet the winner of No. 2 Bandys and No. 3 East Burke in the championship game.

"It was ugly. That's all I can say," said N-C coach Ike Williams. "We kind of knew Bandys would be here scouting. We wanted to be conservative with the game plan and what we ran. Obviously, it ended up being an ugly game."

The Red Devils committed 23 of the game’s fouls. The Vikings committed 32 turnovers in the game.

"I give South Iredell a lot of credit," Williams said "They are one of the more athletic teams in our conference. It's always difficult trying to pull away from them, especially when you're running a limited game plan."

The Lady Vikings (14-11) slowed the Newton-Conover transition game, drawing 11 fouls in the first half, including three each on Taylor Petty and Shynese Whitener.

South Iredell scored 10 of its 18 points in the first half on free throws, making 71.4 percent of their attempts (10-of-14) at the "charity stripe."

"We did a whole lot of reaching," Williams said of his team's first-half performance. "We just came out flat, for whatever reason. I just told them at halftime that we weren't capable of playing the way we should be playing. We were in cruise mode. There is a lot at stake at this tournament. I told them we had to step it up or we were going to have a short tournament."

Eleven of South Iredell's 18 points in the first half came from guard Aaliyah Jackson, who finished the game with 12 points.

Freshman Dasia Tipps, who scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds, was a bright spot for Newton-Conover. She scored baskets off five of her rebounds.

"That's what she is capable of," Williams said of Tipps. "She's on the roller coaster as a freshman. You expect some ups and downs, but she's had some really good games. She's been steady rebounding, but today, I thought she was extra special."

Tipps scored eight points in the third quarter, helping Newton-Conover outscore South Iredell 19-8 in the frame.

Combined with freshman Taylor Petty's 20 points and five steals, the Lady Red Devils distanced themselves for good, ensuring N-C a spot in the title game Friday.

The Red Devils look ahead to a potential match-up with Bandys. The Trojans must first get by East Burke.

"The pressure will be on them because we will be here tomorrow," Williams said. "It's gamesmanship. It's good to win the ugly games. It's good to win any games at this point in the season. It's 'win or go home.'"