Middle Creek girls' basketball beats Cleveland

CorrespondentNovember 29, 2012 

— Middle Creek girls’ basketball coach Wes Petty was counting on senior forward Tyler Ross to give his team a boost this season. Ross, a transfer from Union Pines, averaged a double-double as a junior and was poised to step right in and lead the Mustangs.

“We were expecting a whole lot out of Tyler,” Petty said. “She’s a great athlete. She’s a great basketball player, and she’s a really great softball player. She’s going to N.C. State to play softball. And on top of that she’s hard working and a really great teammate.”

But best laid plans don’t always work out.

Before the first game, Ross suffered a knee injury that has reduced her to simply a crutches-clad cheerleader on the bench. Her teammates have now been forced to fill the void.

“They’ve come together a lot over the past couple of weeks,” Petty said. “I’ve told them, ‘Good teams respond well to adversity.’ And we’ve had to deal with this from day one. The good thing is they all work hard, and they’re all willing to contribute in their role.”

Wednesday night’s 39-30 win over host Cleveland (1-3) was a prime example of the kind of total team effort to which Petty was referring.

Nine of the 10 uniformed Mustangs (1-1) scored in the game. Only Betsy Dohrer, who finished with 10, scored in double figures. Seven of those nine grabbed at least one rebound. Sydney Smith led the way with five.

Defensively Middle Creek’s guards were stifling on the perimeter all night, denying entry to the post and frustrating the Ram’s forwards. The Mustangs held leading scorer Cheyenne Wall scoreless.

“Nobody’s really played us man-to-man like they did,” Cleveland coach Chris Danehour said. “Everybody’s played zone against us. We had a hard time getting the ball inside or to the wing.”

Petty was pleased with his team’s defensive aggressiveness the most.

“We can always play with effort,” he said. “That’s what I tell them. And when that happens, good things happen.”

Middle Creek did most of its damage early, mounting a 28-17 halftime lead. The second half was fairly even with both teams struggling to score for long stretches.

The Rams pulled to within eight after the third quarter, but was never able to get any closer.

“Middle Creek’s more experienced than we are,” Danehour said. “We’ve got five freshmen on this team who play. It’s hard when you’ve got freshman versus senior, but our energy level is good. When we got down, we didn’t quit. That’ll get us places.”

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