RONDA — The East Wilkes Cardinals hosted Chatham Central on Saturday night in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A third round. It was an intense game that came down to the final seconds of the fourth quarter. The Lady Cardinals were able to take the lead and hang on to take a 58-53 win to move on to the fourth round.
The game started off in Chatham Central’s favor as the Bears took a 2-0 lead just 15 seconds into the first period. East Wilkes was able to tie the game on its next drive as Lakyn Mathis found the hands of Alexis Pardue for a two-point basket.
The first quarter went on in a back-and-forth momentum with the Bears taking the lead with two minutes left. Chatham Central was able to hold East Wilkes to just seven points as the first quarter ended 12-7.
The second and third quarters saw East Wilkes take the lead and hang on to it. East Wilkes outscored Chatham Central 23-13 in the second, while the Bears outscored the Cardinals 8-7 in the third. With the final quarter approaching, East Wilkes had a 37-33 lead over Chatham Central.
The fourth quarter saw the action heat up as the Bears put forth every ounce of energy they had left. With 4:33 remaining in the game, Chatham Central tied the action 40-40. East Wilkes was able to take the lead back as Lauren Johnson made a free throw for a 41-40 game. The Bears were able to put themselves back on top with a lay-up, but East Wilkes was able to take the momentum back as Mathis put up a shot from the post.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, East Wilkes was able to shake off the Bears and take the lead. Mathis put up a shot to give East Wilkes a 50-49 lead, and the Cardinals were able to capitalize on offense. Pardue put the Cardinals up by four points as she made a shot then was fouled. From the free-throw line, Pardue’s shot swished through the net and East Wilkes pulled ahead 53-49.
The Cardinals were not done with their scoring drive, as Pardue was able to make another basket after the Bears lost the ball on offense. Gracie Brown stole the ball and found the hands of Pardue to put East Wilkes ahead 55-49.
Chatham Central tried to pull out of the hole, but the Cardinals stood strong on defense, and upped their game on offense. When all was said and done, the Cardinals took a 58-53 win over the fifth-seeded Bears.
With the win, East Wilkes (23-4) will travel to Mount Airy (24-2) on Tuesday night to take on the No. 1-seeded Granite Bears. Results were not available by press deadline.
East Wilkes stats:
A. Pardue – 22 points and 7 rebounds
L. Mathis – 15 points and 9 rebounds
T. Jolly – 7 points and 2 rebounds
G. Brown – 6 points and 4 rebounds
L. Johnson – 6 points and 1 rebound
L. Rakes – 2 points and 3 rebounds