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Nash Central girls edges Rocky Mount

011118NCgbb-Mitchell

Nash Central's Kayalin Mitchell, right, races to the basket as Rocky Mount High's Nigeria Knight defends Wednesday at Nash Central High School.

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By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Up two points after the first quarter at home on Wednesday night, the Nash Central girls’ basketball team used a dominant second quarter in which they outscored Rocky Mount, 14-12, to capture a 40-28 win in both teams’ final game before the beginning of conference play.

The win for the Bulldogs (7-7) was their third in four games and first against Rocky Mount (8-5), which had knocked off Nash Central earlier in the year in their first meeting.

According to head coach Terri Cash, the team that was bested by the Gryphons in late November is much different than the one playing now.

“I do think we’re improving. We haven’t had a lot of experience -- I only have two seniors,” said the coach. “People are starting to figure out their roles. For kids that have never played varsity, it’s just about getting that experience.”

Rocky Mount, after that slow second quarter, instilled a defensive press to begin the second half, using it successfully to pull within six points midway through the third quarter.

That would be the closest the score would get though, as Nash Central’s Kayalin Mitchell finally answered with two back-to-back baskets to bring the lead back to double-digits.

The Gryphons brought the lead to single-digits again in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs were able to keep a safe distance based on the lead established earlier.

Robbi Allen led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15, including 12 in the first half. Behind her was Naudika Howard with seven points, then Mitchell, who had those two crucial third quarter baskets, with four points.

Cash recently changed Mitchell’s role from starter to bench player, a move the coach said her junior has embraced.

“The last two games, she’s done a really good job with embracing the role,” she said. “When she’s on the floor, she gives us so much energy.”

The Bulldogs open Eastern Plains play against Wilson Beddingfield on Friday, while the Gryphons will look to regroup when they host Wilson Fike.

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