GREENSBORO — Millbrook graduate Taylor Houston experienced everything shed envisioned and a little more in her senior season.
Houston helped the Wildcats win their first girls basketball state 4A championship in school history, was an all-conference selection in the Cap Eight once again and signed a scholarship to play at Bethune Cookman University this fall. She even garnered the East-West All-Star Game selection she targeted before her senior season started.
It was a really great senior season, Houston said. Better than I had hoped for, winning the state championship. And getting here was the capper, making the East-West game was one of my personal goals.
About the only thing that didnt go as she pictured was the scoreboard in Mondays N.C. Coaches Association game. The West topped the East 81-62, pulling away with a 25-point fourth quarter after leading all but the first three minutes of play.
Houston scored the games first basket, putting home an offensive rebound to give the East squad the lead less than 30 seconds into the game.
Shooting woes were the biggest issue for the East standouts. They shot just 23 percent (19-of-80) on the night and trailed in the rebounding battle, 63-50.
We settled for a lot of jump shots, Houston said. We could have done a better job of rebounding and getting back on defense. We didnt attack the basket like they did.
The East squad trailed 22-17 after a quarter and cut the lead to 29-27 on a 3-pointer by Hope Mills South Views Ciara Morris with 5:50 to play in the second quarter. She led the East squad with eight first-half points and finished with 14.
Four West players hit double-figures, led by MVP Paige Love of Wilkes Central who finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. Tori Cook (11), Jordan Hiatt (10) and Ashton Fleming (10) shared most of the rest of the West scoring load.
West players took advantage of a 48-22 scoring advantage in the paint.
It was a great experience, even with the two-a-days, said West forward Khadijah Joyner, a Gastonia Forestview graduate. We all worked together from the start of the week, just thinking about executing on both ends. We didnt care who scored. We were together from the first practice.
Rocky Mount guard Alexus Cooper, who helped lead the Easts second-quarter rally to get within 2 points, paced all scorers with 16 points.
Its a nice introduction to college ball, Houston said of the game. Were all going to go on a play. This was a good prep, a little taste of what will be a much higher level of play well have to adjust to in college.
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