Shore debuts with 23 for Ellis girls

Published 12:35 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Last year the South Davie girls basketball team lost 11 of 14 games. Two games into the 2023 season, the Tigers are near last year’s win total.

The turnaround has a name: Allie Cothren. The seventh grader was responsible for 34 of South’s 59 points as the Tigers defeated Erwin and China Grove in the first two games of the season.

“Allie was a beast on all sides of the court,” said Julie Snow, who is back as coach after a five-year hiatus. “She is a daggum competitor.”

A home game against Erwin on Oct. 16 was a close struggle from start to finish. The Tigers trailed after the first, second and third quarters, but Cothren saved eight of her 16 points for the fourth to lift South to 27-25 victory.

With 1:35 remaining, EG Snow hit Cothren inside for a basket that provided a four-point lead. Cothren and Snow combined for three free throws in the closing moments to preserve the lead.

“With no fear, Allie went up against a girl a foot taller than her and held her to six points,” Snow said. “She took a beating and kept pushing forward.”

South got four points from Scarlett Brock, three from Snow and two each from Sakariah Allison and Sarenity Miller.

“Sakariah only has one year of experience, but she’s so fast,” Snow said. “Once she learns control, she will be a force to be reckoned with. She played incredible defense up top.

“Clara Parsley gave us great defense in the third quarter. We held them to three points in the third, which was a game-changer.”

The roster includes Akiela Young, Karissma Stockton, Natalye Keeton and Zariah Allison.

“Our inexperience – we have five years of combined middle school experience – showed, but we will continue to grow,” Snow said. “Akiela, Natalye and Zariah gave us good minutes. It was the first middle school game for (sixth graders) EG and Karissma.”

SD 32, CG 14

Cothren (18 points) was again the star as South dismantled visiting China Grove on Oct. 19. She outscored the Red Devils by herself despite spending extended time on the bench in foul trouble.

“She got three fouls in the first half and sat a lot,” Snow said. “She got a foul midway through the third and had to sit. She played all of the fourth and scored 10 with four fouls. It is tough to tell her to get out of the scrum for a ball, she is so intense.”

The other South scorers were Miller (six), Brock (three), Young (three) and Snow (two).

“Sakariah played phenomenal defense,” Snow said. “Sarenity was good rebounding and was all over the floor fighting for the ball. When Akiela finds her rhythm, she will be something to watch. Zariah will ask more questions than any player I’ve ever coached. This is her first year ever playing ball. When she begins to understand the game, her and her twin sister (Sakariah) will be dominant defenders in the backcourt.”

Snow and assistant Beth Carter couldn’t be happier with the start.

“This team of rookies could really be something,” Snow said. “We are basically starting from scratch, so to watch these girls’ growth so far has been something Beth and I have really enjoyed.”

Brandon Gentry coached South the past two years. Snow was the coach for two years in 2014-15 and 2015-16, leading the Tigers to an 18-7 record.

Ellis 56, Erwin 11

Last year Ellis went from being a hunter to the hunted during a 12-4 season. This season should be no different. The Jaguars steamrolled visiting Erwin in the Oct. 19 opener.

“We were really excited about finally seeing them put all the pieces together and into action,” coach Susan Jones said. “They did not disappoint. From tipoff through the first seven minutes, our girls came out raring to go and never let up. They wreaked havoc with every defensive possession.”

Olivia Smith (10.6 ppg last year) and Gracyn Coleman (5.1) are the top returning scorers, but an already solid team has received a huge boost with the addition of Gracie Shore, who moved in from Forbush. All she did in her Ellis debut was drop in 23 points.

Smith was outstanding as well with 16, including 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. It was essentially a perfect effort as Ellis got four points from Zoe Summers and two each from Layla Hazlip, Sydney Ward and Olivia Rareshide.

Shore and Coleman were lights out defensively as they combined for 12 steals. Smith, Hazlip and Coleman controlled the boards. And Shore, Coleman and Smith handed out three assists each.

“The unselfish play our captains (Shore, Coleman and Smith) showed on the court was apparent with the assists given, allowing for others to score,” Jones said.

Ellis’ eighth graders are Coleman, Emily Hernandez, Rareshide, Smith and Shore. Summers, Ward, Hazlip, Carter Ward and Reese Rye are seventh graders.

Notes: North Rowan was unable to show for its Oct. 19 game at North Davie. It went down as a forfeit win for the Wildcats. … Trish King coached North for the past 25 years. Her replacement  is her son Austin King, a first-year teacher. His squad includes Chloe Hinson, Mabyn Morris, Zoe Shore, Jaynie Patton, Zariya Oliver, Julia Powell, Callaway Spillman, Audrina Bledsoe, Isabella Swartz and Shelby Elmore.