Jaylin Powell had several reasons to compete like she did against Sanderson on Wednesday night.
With a few college scouts in the room, Rolesville’s leading scorer played to revenge the loss to the Spartans a season ago and to prove she wouldn’t fold to Sanderson’s defensive pressure.
Powell didn’t score a basket for two whole quarters in Rolesville’s 50-35 victory over the visitors, but her aggressiveness down the stretch, where she attacked the rim to get to the line and blew a five-point game out of reach, impressed the scouts and the smaller Sanderson guards who were assigned to contain her.
After the game, Sanderson sophomore guard Kyran Flowers told Powell she was a beast.
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Flowers stifled the 5-foot-11 junior guard and forward in the second half, tiring Powell out. In the fourth quarter, Sanderson’s physical pressure led to a turnover that left Powell on the floor on the break.
“They got in my head, I’m not going to lie,” Powell said of the pesky Sanderson guards. “The good thing is I really had to push through that. It’s college coaches here, so that’s always motivation. I just want to help my team as much as possible, so I know I need to score and encourage them. I didn’t want to lose. I’m a big competitor, so I didn’t want to lose.”
After Rolesville succumbed to the late trap, Sanderson junior Hannah Hoover’s putback brought what once was a double-digit deficit to 33-28 with 5:04 left in the game. For the remainder, Rolesville (5-4) went on a 17-2 run behind Powell.
She sunk a 3-pointer with 4:37 showing and drew contact on the next possession. She made three of five free throws in the closing minutes, finishing with a game-high 20 as Rolesville will enter Greater Neuse River Conference play over .500 for the first time in program history on Friday against Knightdale.
“In our conference, we have three heavyweights with Knightdale, East Wake and Southeast Raleigh,” Rams coach Clinton Williams said. “We know we have a long way to go to get up to that level.”
Rolesville freshman Naomi Lockamy hit consecutive triples to give the Rams a 6-0 lead early. They led 16-4 after one quarter, and Sanderson (0-5) shot 24 percent from the floor in the first half. The visitors hit two of 14 3-pointers on the night so they had to move the ball inside. Missing deep in the post didn’t help Sanderson’s case in seeking its first win of the year, so it focused on defense.
Containing Powell and pressuring Lockamy’s shooting were key focuses going into the final nonconference game of the season for the Spartans, coach Michele Conti said.
“We decided to go box-and-one on her (Powell),” Conti said. “We’ve been working defensively on trying some different things. I was pleased that we really haven’t practiced a box-and-one before and threw it out at them. They grew tonight, and I’m proud of that.”
Deandra White led the Spartans with nine points.
Powell got angry in the fourth quarter. She was tired of the pests and used her game to shake them off. She scored 11 points in the final quarter.
Three who mattered
Jaylin Powell, Rolesville: The leading scorer helped keep the Rams in the game by a couple of big baskets and a string of free throws down the stretch. She added eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block to her efforts.
Valencia Carroll, Rolesville: She led the game with 12 boards, using her length to own the glass on both ends of the floor.
Deandra White, Sanderson: The junior guard was one of two assigned to Powell on the night. She opened Sanderson’s scoring and drove for back-to-back buckets in the fourth quarter, when the Spartans were on a hot run.
By the numbers
2: Points from Rolesville’s bench. Only the starters had scored in the first half, and Breena Davis was the only non-starter to attempt a shot in the game.
3: Fouls Lockamy picked up in the fourth quarter in less than a 2-minute span. It gave Sanderson a little momentum.
2: Sanderson-made field goals in the first quarter
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan