Roxboro Community coach Brian Cousin knew his team faced a size mismatch against Plymouth in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A girls basketball East Regional championship game.
What he didn’t expect was the Bulldogs would suffer what he called their poorest shooting performance of the year in a 50-37 loss Saturday afternoon at the Crown Arena in Fayetteville.
Roxboro connected on only 21.9 percent of its shots from the field (14 of 64) and 12.5 percent from the three-point range (3 of 24). Meanwhile, Plymouth’s Brittany Franklin cleaned the glass of errant shots. The 6-foot-4 junior finished with a near-triple-double of 19 points, 25 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
“She was a tough match-up and she worked hard,” Cousins said. “I give credit to Plymouth, but to me their whole team outworked us in the paint and on loose balls. I think we were the better team, but this was our worst shooting game of the year.”
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And then he added, “If we have a bad shooting night, we have to do a better job on the boards.”
Top-seeded Roxboro finished the season 30-3, while No. 2 seed Plymouth (29-1) advanced to a girls state championship game for the first time in school history.
Franklin, who had a North Carolina A&T recruiter sitting courtside among Division I recruiters, put on a dominating show. On one defensive play she caught a layup with the ball on the way up that could have been ruled a blocked shot, steal or rebound.
“I thought it was a block,” said Franklin, although she added she wasn’t thinking about a triple-double.
“I don’t think about stats,” she said “I just want to win.”
Junior guard Elana Roxboro led Roxboro with 25 points, but she was the only Bulldogs player in double figures.
Roxboro trailed 26-19 at halftime while hitting only 22.6 percent from the field (7 of 31) and 10 percent from three-point range (1 of 10).
“I don’t know if it was jitters or what,” Cousin said. “But it was uncharacteristic of our girls.”
However, Roxboro returns 11of 12 players with Carlee Garrett, who scored four points, the only senior.
“We’re a young team,” Cousin said. “We played some tough teams and had tough games this year, but I think we have to be more consistent. Hopefully we can come back as a great team next year.”