MORAVIAN FALLS - Following Tuesday’s heart-breaking overtime loss to rival Starmount, Elkin head coach Derek Carter said the locker room after the game was “really down” for the first time this season.
But the Lady Elks bounced back in a big way, taking down perennial powerhouse Wilkes Central 40-38 Thursday night in a statement win in what Carter called “an interesting journey of a season.”
“Wow. I’m so proud of the kids,” he said. “Tuesday night was just a heart-breaker; we played our butts off against Starmount. The dressing room was down - that’s the first time the dressing room was really down.
“But they practiced hard with their heads up Wednesday, like they have all year. I told them to just execute and finish what we didn’t against Starmount. Tonight, we kept our heads. Wilkes Central is tough, but we rebounded the ball well and made some plays.”
Elkin came out tough against the defending league champions, matching the Eagles score for score in the first quarter. After Carrie Brown hit a layup on the fast-break to give the Elks a 9-7 advantage, Central drilled a three in the final seconds to grab a 10-9 lead at the end of one.
The Eagles pushed their cushion out to 21-17 midway through the second before Elkin fought back. The Lady Elks closed the half on a 6-1 run to take a 23-22 edge into the locker room.
Elkin continued to match every Central score coming out of the break. Madeline Carter connected on back-to-back treys to open the third as the Elks grabbed a 34-32 lead late in the frame.
In the fourth, it was Elkin’s defense that sealed the upset win. The Elks limited Central just four total points in the frame, all of which came from the free-throw line.
The offense produced just enough, scoring six points, including the game-winning layup by Bethany Turner with 1:20 left on the clock.
Turner iced the game with a critical rebound after the Eagles missed two free throws with 15 ticks left as the Elks knocked off Central 40-38, their first win in the matchup in “too long.”
“I don’t know how many rebounds Bethany had tonight but I put her back in at the end and told her to go get me a monster rebound - and she did,” Carter said. “It was nice hearing all the Lady Elk fans cheering them on.
“I’m excited for them,” he continued. “The locker room was pretty excited. We’ve been playing well these past few weeks, and I think we can make some noise the rest of the way.”
All seven players scored for the Elks, led by Dimmette’s 10. Courtney Beals added eight points, while Brown finished with seven.
“We had a game plan and we stuck to it tonight,” Carter said. “I told them that if they get the ball down low, they put the ball in the hole. So I told them to just battle and scrap down there.
Elkin returns to the court Tuesday against Ashe County in the final road game of the season.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.