RONDA — The seventh-ranked East Wilkes Lady Cardinals were looking to extend their season with a second round playoff win over 12th-ranked Atkins on Thursday night. Unfortunately for East Wilkes, the Camels proved to be too big of a hump for the Cardinals to climb. Atkins took a third-period lead and never looked back as they went on to win 71-61.
Alexis Pardue opened up the night with a lay-up assisted by Gracie Brown. Brown beat one defender then fed the ball to Pardue who found the basket to give East Wilkes a 2-0 lead. Atkins took the opportunity on its next possession to hit a three-point shot and take a one-point lead over the Cardinals.
East Wilkes was able to go on a four-point scoring run to take a 6-3 lead over the Camels. The lead didn’t last long as the Camels scored another three-point shot to tie the game. From there, East Wilkes scored four more points as Pardue made two free-throws, and Katie Prevette made a two-point basket.
The rest of the first period played out in a back-and-forth matter as Atkins would score and East Wilkes would answer back. Atkins took a four-point lead at one point, but East Wilkes was able to pull back within one point as Lauren Johnson made a three-point shot from the top of the arch. At the end of the first, both teams had battled it out to a tie game as the score sat at 20-20.
The second period started off with Pardue breaking the tie and give East Wilkes a two-point lead, her shot gave the Cardinals a boost of energy. East Wilkes played tough on defense and Pardue scored on the next possession for a four-point lead. While the first period showed off both team’s offensive skills, the second period showed off the defensive skills. East Wilkes played great man coverage with Brown forcing several turnovers from her opponent. The Atkins turnovers lead to several points by the Cardinals as they took a 34-31 lead going into halftime.
With 16 minutes left before a winner was decided, East Wilkes opened the third period with a three-point shot courtesy of Lauren Johnson. From there, the Cardinals and Atkins battled back and forth with the Camels taking a one point lead, 47-46 at the end of the third period.
In the final period, Atkins outscored the Cardinals by nine points as the Camels took home a 71-61 win. East Wilkes found themselves down by 10 points with five minutes left and were never able to make a comeback.
The Cardinals were 13-for-22 from the free-throw line, while Atkins was 25-33. Alexis Pardue had 24 points for the Cardinals, Lauren Johnson had 14, Lakyn Mathis had 10, Tess Jolly had five, while Gracie Brown and Katie Prevette had four.
East Wilkes ends its season with an overall record of 20-9. Atkins will take on Mount Airy in the third round of the NCHSAA 1A Playoffs.