North Rowan repels War Eagle rally

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, January 7, 2016

SALISBURY – Davie’s varsity girls basketball team shaved a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to two, but it ran out of steam and suffered a disheartening 49-44 loss to North Rowan in the first round of the Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Catawba College on Dec. 28.

The fourth-seeded Cavaliers improved to 6-4. No. 5 Davie dropped to 6-6. The result was familiar against North, which rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Davie 54-48 in last year’s semifinals. North hammered Davie 50-30 in the 2013 Moir.

Throughout the evening, Davie coach Dave Ruemenapp was often shaking his head or raising his hands in frustration.

“From start to finish, they really got after it,” he said. “We had a hard time rebounding because they ran down everything. We allowed too much guard penetration. We gave up the baseline too much. That’s the reason we were in a zone in the first place. They got us out of position and got us in a little foul trouble. We had a hard time matching their intensity.”

Davie got off to a good start, thanks to Ashlyn Hampton’s eight first-quarter points. The big girl was posting up and point guard Madison Zaferatos was lobbing it to her as the quarter ended in a 12-12 tie. But North solved that issue and Hampton didn’t score again until the fourth.

“We didn’t seal on that,” Ruemenapp said. “We were trying to run cuts off the post player, and we weren’t quite patient enough on that. I think the pressure just got to us and we had a hard time adjusting to that the whole game.”

Davie continued to hold North at bay in the second. Zaferatos delivered nine points in the quarter, and 3-pointers by Zaferatos and Caitlyn Peebles helped Davie go into the locker room with a 26-23 advantage.

“In the first half we were solid,” Ruemenapp said. “But they went man-to-man after that and it turned things around.”

The Cavaliers thrive when their in-your-face defense causes turnovers, and Davie turned it over time and again in an abysmal third. Davie was floundering and very flustered during North’s 18-3 run. Davie’s came on a Zaferatos 3-pointer, and the deficit after the third was 41-29.

Zaferatos (22 points, four assists, three steals) and Hampton (13 points on 5-of-5 shooting) accounted for 35 of Davie’s 44 points. C. Peebles chipped in five points, six team-high rebounds and three steals.

“I think they competed harder than we did,” Ruemenapp said. “We had a nice spurt at the end, but we had a hard time getting into our offense. A bunch of people didn’t want the ball in their hands when the pressure was on, and it put a lot of pressure on Madi (Zaferatos) to try to do a lot of things.”

Zaferatos put the War Eagles on her back in the fourth and nearly willed Davie all the way back, scoring 10 of their 15 points. The deficit was the largest of the game, 43-29, before Davie went on a 15-5 spurt. North scored its final field goal with 7:21 remaining, and Davie’s big spurt included a Zaferatos 3-pointer, two Zaferatos free throws and a Zaferatos lob inside to Hampton, who scored. Then Zaferatos drove, switched to the left hand, scored and was fouled. She would complete the three-point play.

When Hampton stepped outside and buried a 3-pointer with 3:12 left, Davie was within 46-44. But that was as close as the War Eagles would get.

With Davie trailing 47-44 and a minute left, Zaferatos’ 3-ball would not fall. C. Peebles came up with a steal and headed downcourt. But she lost control and got tied up on the floor, the possession arrow giving North the ball with 46 seconds left. With North ahead 48-44 and 20 seconds to go, Zaferatos’ 3-point try was blocked. The Davie bench jumped up in protest of the no-foul call. That was Davie’s last gasp.

North went on to claim its second Moir title in three years. There were no silver linings for the War Eagles, who were 9-3 at this point last season.

“(Zaferatos) did a lot of awesome things, but we’re going to have to have more people help with the pressure that we were getting,” Ruemenapp said. “We finally got it going at the end and made a run. But it’s hard to come out of that hole because you assert so much energy to try to come back.”

N. Rowan 49, Davie 44 – Madison Zaferatos 22, Ashlyn Hampton 13, Caitlyn Peebles 5, Aubriana Peebles 2, Emma Slabach 2.