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Williamston rides ‘D’ to playoff victory

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — The Tigers’ press chewed up the Bruins attack as Williamston clamped down on Camden to earn a 64-44 win in the second round of the NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs on Wednesday.
The win ups Williamston’s (the No. 1 seed from the Atlantic Conference) record to a perfect 26-0, and also improves the Tigers’ confidence as they were able to handily beat a solid Camden team whose 17-11 record earned it a No. 2 seed in the Albemarle Conference.
Williamston employed a diamond-and-one press for a good portion of the game, and particularly after made baskets. The result of the press was that the Tigers were able to score in bunches and dictate tempo.
Williamston guard Katie Paschal exploded for 24 points, and proved to be just as effective on the defensive end as she constantly disrupted passes.
Elks said the key to his team’s defensive performance was its execution.
Teaming up with Paschal at the top of the press was sophomore Cassie Harrell and Monee Jones. After missing nearly a month because of a concussion sustained earlier in the season, Harrell came off the bench and had a big impact on the defensive end of the court.
Senior Presley Roberson (11 points) and Equalia Vines (18 points) solidified the back end of the press and presented a fierce obstacle to the Bruins when they attempted to drive to the basket.
The press helped Williamston take a commanding lead early in the game and when Paschal nailed a 15-footer at the left elbow the Tigers took a 13-1 lead midway through the first quarter.
Vines, who had a big night on both sides of the court, caught two quick fouls early and was forced to sit out a large part of the second quarter, which allowed the Bruins to sneak back in the game.
Blair Meiggs’ heated up from outside and scored eight second quarter to help the Bruins cut the Tigers’ lead to 30-23 by halftime. Meiggs led Camden with 15 points.
However, with Vines back in the lineup Williamston dominated the third quarter out-scoring Camden 18-9. Vines scored eight third quarter points, while Paschal tallied six.
Williamston’ scrappy defense allowed for easy transition baskets, but after the game Elks said he was extremely pleased with his team’s half court offense.
When they weren’t able to fastbreak, the Tigers’ showed patience in the halfcourt and worked the ball around Camden’s zone effectively, Also playing a big factor in Williamston’s halfcourt offense was Roberson. The Tigers’ forward/center was able to hit her mid-range jumpers as well as be a force on the glass.
Elks said his team’s performance on Wednesday was one of its best all-around games of the season, however, its time to prepare for its next challenge.
That next challenge is a big one as Williamston will face Weldon (22-3), the No. 1 seed from the Tar Roanoke Conference, and also the last team to beat the Tigers.
The Chargers knocked Williamston out of the playoffs last season with a 55-35 win in the second round. This year the Tigers will look to return the favor as they will face Weldon on Friday on the road.
Camden 7 16 9 12 — 44
Williamston 16 14 18 16 — 64
Bruins (44)
Kosik 6, Blair Meiggs 15, Davis 6, Rogers 8, Drakos 2, Parks 3.
Tigers (64)
Presley Roberson 11, Katie Paschal 24, Equalia Vines 18, Norfleet 4, Harrell 2, Jones 3.