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Ardrey Kell, Myers Park win, advance to Southwestern 4A girls final

By Herb White
Correspondent

MATTHEWS Ardrey Kell and Myers Park did the expected Wednesday at the Southwestern 4A girls’ basketball tournament.

The Knights and Mustangs advanced to meet in Friday’s final with convincing wins at Butler, with Ardrey Kell beating the host Bulldogs 62-36 and unbeaten Myers Park knocking off Rocky River 81-40.

Ardrey Kell, which improved to 24-2, pulled away from Butler (15-11) with huge runs in the second and third quarters, aided by an aggressive defense that unraveled the Bulldogs. Four Knights scored in double-figures, led by Erin Whalen’s 16 points. Jordan Muhammad added 13, Marshae Bradbury had 12, and Chase Muhammad chipped in 11 off the bench.

“I like to start the game out with really strong defense, and then rotate people in and out so I get fresh legs in there to be able to run and box out,” Ardrey Kell coach Jennifer McVicker said. “Keeping people in and out is going to be key for us, to get the role players in there to know what we’re doing.”

Myers Park (26-0) had little trouble with Rocky River (11-13), jumping out to an 18-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter and growing its lead as the game moved along. The Mustangs balanced the offensive load with 11 players scoring, led by Rydeiah Rogers and India Timpton with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Aliya Mazyck added 14 for Myers Park, which seized a 31-point gap at the half. Hydeia Harvey led Rocky River with 13 points and Shikina Wilson had 11.

“Right now you just want to survive and advance,” Mustangs coach Barbara Nelson said. “You want to try to continue to play well without getting injured at this point in the season. We’re just happy to get the win and keep moving forward.”

Myers Park was in fine form from the start. Rogers, Timpton and Mazyck each produced double-figure results in the first half, combining for 37 of the Mustangs’ 46 points. The second half went to maintaining that advantage and spreading playing time along the bench.

“Their kids played very inspired, and I thought we played very uninspired,” Nelson said. “It took India Timpton to kind of pick up the defensive pressure a little bit and Dee Dee Rogers to get on the boards, get some steals and pick up some pressure and Aliyah to pick up the pace to really kick-start us.”

The Knights were on a mission to get another shot at Myers Park, which swept the regular season series. Ardrey Kell’s defense sparked the fast break and when called for, the halfcourt offense was efficient with Whalen and Bradbury doing damage inside.

“We got on the break and we got some key rebounds,” McVicker said. “People started running the floor and that’s exactly what we want to do.”

Fairen Sutton paced Butler with 16 points, the only Bulldog to score in double digits.

Ardrey Kell led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, but went on a 9-1 tear at the start of the second to produce some breathing space and a 32-21 advantage at the break behind Jordan Muhammad, who scored nine points in the half, and Whalen’s seven. The Knights’ defense also stymied Butler, forcing eight turnovers that resulted in nine Ardrey Kell points.

“We started to tighten up our defense, boxing out and taking care of the ball,” McVicker said. “Those are the three things in that portion of the game that really helped us get those fast breaks.”

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