Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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December 16, 2012

Lady Mavericks execute their way to championship of Narrows tournament

NARROWS, Va. — Coaches always talk about execution. When it actually happens, no one is happier.

Kelsie Mann and Jordan Page scored 15 points apiece, and James Monroe dominated the boards and forced turnovers to defeat George Wythe 53-42 to capture the championship of the Narrows Athletic Fund Christmas Classic on Saturday afternoon at Narrows High School.

James Monroe improved to 3-2, having beaten Narrows 44-32 on Thursday to advance to the title game.

“It is a major confidence booster for the girls and the whole team, it was definitely a positive experience,” James Monroe head coach Malory McPherson said.

Despite the presence of George Wythe’s 1,000-plus scorer Kristen Atwell — who finished with a game-high 26 points — the Mavericks crashed the boards from the start, and never trailed after overcoming an early 2-0 deficit.

No other member of the Maroons (1-4) scored more than five points.

“We watched them play the other day against Giles and we knew she would be a threat inside,” McPherson said. “We knew to emphrasize rebounding and they executed just like I asked them to do.”

Mann, who had 12 rebounds to go with her 15 points, was selected as the tourney most valuable player. She also had 14 points in the Thursday win over Narrows.

“We knew we were going to have a good year from Kelsie Mann, and she has been there every game,” McPherson said.

Page was also instrumental in the victory, returning from a concussion to direct the offense while scoring 15 points, including the only 3 in the game. She was also 8-of-14 from the free throw line, while Mann was 7-14. The rest of the Mavericks were 3-11 from the charity stripe.

“Jordan was out for an entire week with a concussion,” McPherson said. “She actually just joined us again on Friday so she is a tremendous asset to have back with us, we missed her.”

James Monroe was able to hit the glass and force 13 first half turnovers, leading to a 28-19 lead at the break. The Maroons hung around, closing within five at 47-42 with 1:45 left in the game, but the Mavericks finished 6-11 from the charity stripe to finish off the win.

Emily McKinney, who was also selected to the all-tournament team, had six points and eight rebounds. Laine Shiflett had five steals and nine boards.

“We have got some speed and we have got the aggressiveness,” McPherson said. “We have been trying to emphasize full court defense and the girls did a good job of that today and forced a lot of turnovers.”

Atwell, who scored 22 in a 50-30 semifinal win over Giles, was also selected to the all-tournament team.

McPherson, who was pleased to get contributions from all 11 players, will direct her Mavericks on Monday against Giles.

“There is nothing more then a coach could ask for than to be able to clear the bench, and for everyone to contribute is phenomenal,” McPherson said.

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