Too much Bull-dogs

RALEIGH—The end of the first quarter signified the last hopes of first-time state finalist Weldon of challenging Thomasville. The Chargers' quest for competing evolved into a 63-26 beating by the Bulldogs, who captured their fourth consecutive N.C. 1A state championship and 54th consecutive win.

With the score knotted at 10 in the opening period, the Bulldogs scored the stanza's last five points and never looked back. A 23-5 second quarter run – including seven by Mary Allen – put Thomasville (32-0), which was 4-8 from beyond the arc over the first two quarters, ahead 38-15 at the break. The 23-point scoring differential was just two points shy of Thomasville's largest margin of victory in its three previous title tilts.

"We hit some outside shots, and that opened up things," Bulldogs coach Eric Rader said. "And it made it a lot easier for us to play from there on out."

Bulldogs guard Tyronnica "Wudi" Alford scored five points in the aforementioned spurt among 12 in the half and 20 for the game to go with nine rebounds and six assists en route to MVP honors.

Weldon (27-2), despite attempting 14 more field goals (68-54) than their opponents, converted just nine shots, or 13.2 percent. Weldon's second half best of five straight points (three by Sherreka Turner) was followed by nine unanswered by the Bulldogs, including five by Alford.

"We really got outran," Chargers coach Grady Williams said. "I told the girls, ‘I thought we ran the fast break, until I saw Thomasville play.' It's real. They can really push the ball."

The Chargers, down 53-25 with eight minutes remaining, did not make a field goal in the final stanza, in which they scored just one point. Weldon's total output was two points more than the all-time state tournament record for fewest point scored, set by Avery County in the 1980 2A quarterfinals.

Thomasville MOP (Most Outstanding Player) Charnette Davis and Allen finished with 18 and 11, respectively, for the winners. Weldon's Gara Bell, also a recipient of MOP honors, paced the runners-up with seven and a game high 12 rebounds.

Impris Manning, who along with Alford played for all four victorious Thomasville teams, pulled 10 boards as the Bulldogs won the battle of the glass 60-39. Thomasville won two titles each at UNC-Chapel Hill's Smith Center (2002, 2004), and N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum, the site of Saturday's triumph and that of two years earlier.


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