Pressure tested

When Mallard Creek increased the pressure on Monday night, Newton-Conover’s Lady Red Devils weren’t rattled.
Using full court pressure to start the second half, the Lady Mavericks whittled away a Newton-Conover lead that grew as large as 12 points. Every time the Mavericks neared the Lady Red Devils — coming as close as five points — Newton-Conover responded, en route to a 68-55 win.
The victory improves Newton-Conover to 3-0.
“I thought we did a pretty good job against the pressure. I think that comes from playing against teams like Hickory that do full court pressure, so we were pretty prepared for the type of style they had,” Newton-Conover girls basketball coach Jonathan Tharpe said, adding that as the Lady Red Devils broke the press they scored quick transition buckets. “But we don’t always need to score, we need to run and work some clock and execute on that end.”
Down, 30-22 at the half, the Lady Mavericks began applying pressure, making steals and scoring points.
“There is not a team in our conference that is going to be as physical or as athletic as Mallard Creek. ... I thought we did a really good job at times handling their pressure, handling how physical they were and just matching their intensity,” Tharpe said of the 4-1 team.
The Red Devils were led by Kadesha Gibbs who logged blocked shots and rebounds, while scoring a team high 18 points. Shynese Whitener matched the high with 18 points.
“I think we grew up a lot tonight,” Tharpe said. “That is a great team we beat.”