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Barrie gets triple-double as Vikings top Wonders
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Barrie gets triple-double as Vikings top Wonders

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KANNAPOLIS – By stating that his team “missed 20 million layups” and “had about 50 million turnovers” in the first quarter, Central Cabarrus girls basketball coach Brandon Blalock was waxing hyperbolic following his team’s game at A.L. Brown on Tuesday.

But there was one thing – actually three things – that the Vikings’ veteran coach could not have exaggerated about the play of guard Mariah Barrie.

Playing in the season opener of her senior year, Barrie registered a statistical triple-double as she pushed Central Cabarrus over A.L. Brown 50-29 in a non-conference matchup. Barrie led her team with 16 points and 10 steals while finishing as one of three Vikings with double-digit rebounds (10).

Though Central Cabarrus (1-0) trailed by a point after one quarter, the Vikings nearly shut out A.L. Brown (0-1) in the second period, as Central opened up a double-digit lead before halftime. The rest of the game was smooth sailing for the Vikings.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Blalock. “I thought at times we played settled and composed.

“When we start pressing and getting out there, we play with some energy. We got in the passing lanes and got some steals, that’s what pushed the lead out. If we can play like that consistently, when we’re keeping our feet in front of people and moving our feet defensively, that’s what we need to do.”

But back to that first quarter, when the Vikings were making “millions” of mistakes, the teams were practically even. Central Cabarrus forced a fast-paced tempo with a full court defense, and the Vikings found plenty of scoring chances against A.L. Brown’s 1-2-2 zone defense, but they were not translating in to points.

Some of those chances came in the form of free throw attempts, another aspect of excessive first-quarter mistakes. Central Cabarrus often attacked the basket, resulting in a lot of Wonders fouls, but the Vikings missed more free throw chances than they made in the first period, namely Barrie.

The senior guard was held scoreless from the field in the first quarter. However, she had four two-shot foul opportunities, of which she made just three of eight chances, and also failed on the front end of a one-and-one. As a team, Central Cabarrus was five of 11 from the charity stripe in the first period.

The best player on the court for the game’s first eight minutes was A.L. Brown guard Sadie Faulkner. Six of her 10 points in the first quarter came on 3-pointers as the Wonders took a 14-13 lead to the second period.

Combined, the teams shot nine of 31 from the field and committed 13 turnovers in a sloppy first quarter.

Central Cabarrus took the lead for good when Barrie scored the first three points of the second quarter: one on the front end of a two-shot foul and then by taking a defensive rebound the length of the court and flipping in a layup.

The Vikings’ defense was just as good in the second quarter, forcing the same number of turnovers it had in the first (seven) but converting more of them into points. The only point the Wonders scored in the period was on a Ayani Flood free throw, and they were outscored 13-1.

“I feel like we worked as a team to get that lead back up,” said Barrie. “When we push each other, we can do anything.”

Barrie and Amiyah Jones combined to score the last 10 points of the first half as Central Cabarrus grabbed a 26-15 lead. The Vikings stretched their advantage to 41-22 going into the fourth quarter, despite a three minute stretch in the third in which mostly reserves were on the court.

Jones grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and added 13 points and three steals. Amari Haley scored 10 points and added 13 boards as the Vikings out-rebounded the Wonders 50-31.

Faulkner was quiet after the first quarter, adding only a third quarter basket to finish with a team-high 12 points. Alannah Green added 10 points and led A.L. Brown with seven rebounds.

A.L. Brown plays next on Nov. 29 as it hosts Northwest Cabarrus, while Central Cabarrus plays next at Matthew Butler on Dec. 1.

SCORING SUMMARY

Central Cabarrus 13 13 15; 9 — 50

A.L. Brown 14 1 7 8 — 9

CENTRAL CABARRUS – Coley 3, Mariah Barrie 16, Ray 4, Stanley 2, Amiyah Jones 13, McDonald 2, Amari Haley 10.

A.L. BROWN – Sadie Faulkner 12, Flood 2, Alannah Green 10, Foster 4, Grier 2.

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