Dutka's hot-hand leads Lady Trojans to first-round win over Pisgah in state playoffs on Tuesday; sets up second round contest with conference foe Newton-Conover on Thursday

Lady Trojans' sophomore forward Logan Dutka (43) with the easy floater against Pisgah in the first round of the 2A state playoffs on Tuesday, February 25. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Trojans' sophomore point guard and South Fork 2A All-Conference selection Macy Rummage (10) driving past Pisgah's Cayli Parham (10) in Bost-Matheson Gym on Tuesday. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Trojans' head coach Nicki Sigmon calling out to her team during the 57-40 win over the Lady Bears in playoff action on Tuesday night. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Trojans' junior forward/center Laci Paul (15) attempting to strip the ball from Pisgah senior Chloe Parris (34) in Bost-Matheson Gym on Tuesday, February 25. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Trojans' sophomore guard Caroline McIntosh (22) trying to secure the ball in the victory over the Lady Bears. McIntosh earned a game-high seven assists on Tuesday. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Red Devils' senior center Chyna Cornwell (54) looking to break through the double-team against No. 30 East Rutherford in first-round playoff action on Tuesday, February 25. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Red Devils' junior forward Grace Loftin (33) backing down in the post. Loftin scored 18 points in the win over East Rutherford on Tuesday. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Red Devils' senior guard/forward Jahlea Peters (30) scored a season-best 18 points in the 84-39 win over East Rutherford on Tuesday. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Red Devils' head coach Sylvia White looks on as her team takes a stronghold of East Rutherford. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Red Devils' freshman point guard Cassidy Geddes (10) looking for the blow-by against East Rutherford on Tuesday, February 25, at Newton-Conover High School. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)Lady Red Devils' senior guard Aaliah Walton (14) tangled up with East Rutherford on Tuesday night. (Photo by Michelle Thompson)
By: 
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

After falling at home in the first round of last year's North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A West state basketball playoffs, the No. 14-seeded Bandys Lady Trojans defended Bost-Matheson Gymnasium on Tuesday.

Lady Trojans' sophomore forward Logan Dutka was on a mission to get her squad over the hump en route to a 57-40 victory over No. 19 Pisgah.

Dutka began the contest leading all scorers after one as she obtained nine points – including a three.

A scary sight also took place in the first quarter in the first two minutes of action as Bandys' junior center Olivia Little went down with an apparent leg injury after attempting to box out while the Lady Bears' were shooting at the foul line.

Following her injury, sophomore guard Caroline McIntosh entered the game and became a focal point right away.

McIntosh connected on one of Bandys' trio of threes in the quarter. However, her shooting wouldn't be her biggest contribution – as she only earned four points on the night – but her passing ability would be. She was a maestro out there on the court as she finished with a game-high seven assists in the win.

After beginning on fire – leading 21-8 – the Lady Trojans (20-6) went a little cold offensively in the second quarter and only mustered six points in the frame.

Lady Bears' senior forward Carter Gibson and sophomore forward Morgan Putnam led the team's run in the second frame. Gibson scored four of her six first-half points in the period while Putnam earned two of her four first-half points in the quarter.

Heading into the break, Bandys maintained a 27-14 lead. Dutka continued to remain poised and led her team with 11 points and five rebounds. Sophomore point guard Macy Rummage followed up her fellow South Fork 2A All-Conference teammate Dutka with nine points – including a three – three rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.

Coming out of halftime, the Lady Bears (17-10) had a shift in its offensive play. It wasn't able to connect on a single three-pointer in the contest, but it didn't settle as it earned its way to the charity stripe time and time again in the second half. Pisgah went 10-of-18 from the stripe compared to Bandys making 3-of-7.

Carter Gibson picked up where she left off as she earned five points in the third quarter, along with one of her four total steals. Sophomore center Alexis Gibson was a focal figure on the glass for the Lady Bears as she garnered nine boards (six offensive) and she also earned her way to the free-throw line a handful of times (2-of-6).

Pisgah senior guard Mae Anna Norris led her team in makes at the line, going a perfect 4-of-4. The strong play of the Gibsons, in addition to senior forward Chloe Parris and Putnam, led for a few close calls in the second half for Bandys. Parris finished with eight points, four boards and a steal.

Pisgah brought the contest to just a 10-point lead for the Lady Trojans a couple of times, especially in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the 'Four Horsewomen' – Dutka, Rummage, senior guard Toni Laney and junior forward/center Laci Paul – made sure its lead stayed intact.

Paul was a central point on the offensive glass as she earned a team-high five offensive boards of her eight total rebounds. She also earned four points, three assists and two steals. While, Laney obtained five points – including a three – along with four rebounds and three assists.

Rummage demonstrated her ability to drive on the fast-break and garnered 14 points – including a pair of threes – four boards, four assists and a team-high three steals. Dutka collected a game-high 30 points – including a game-high four three-pointers – as well as 10 rebounds and two blocks.

Following the victory over the Lady Bears, Bandys must challenge conference foe and No. 3 seed Newton-Conover (25-2) in enemy territory on Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Lady Red Devils are coming off a blowout win in the first round against No. 30 East Rutherford on Tuesday night, 84-39.

Newton-Conover senior center Chyna Cornwell obtained a team-high 26 points while junior forward Grace Loftin garnered 18.

Lady Red Devils' senior forward/guard Jahlea Peters – who has shown some inconsistencies in the scoring column in recent weeks – came out with everything to prove as she finished with a season-high 18 points, coming at exactly the right time.

Freshman point guard Cassidy Geddes followed suit with nine points in the big win.

Thursday's match-up with Bandys will be its third time facing its rival. The Lady Red Devils lead the season series 2-0. The most recent contest between the two came on Jan. 28 in which the Lady Red Devils dominated the Lady Trojans, 57-21, at Newton-Conover High School.

In that game, Cornwell went for a game-high 19 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and one steal. Geddes followed with 14 points – including four three-pointers – four boards, a game-high seven assists and a pair of steals. Peters earned eight points, two rebounds, three assists and four steals.

Rummage collected six points in that loss to Newton-Conover, in addition to achieving a game-high six steals.

The Lady Red Devils will look to have that same kind of firepower once again on Thursday night. While, the Lady Trojans will have Dutka in the line-up to help on the scoring end this go-around.

GIRLS (1ST ROUND, FEB. 25)

No. 10 BUNKER HILL 77, No. 23 EAST LINCOLN 48

ELHS: 10 15 12 11- 48
BHHS: 23 18 26 10- 77

ELHS: Brianna Tadlock 24, T. Thomas 8, M. Self 4, R. Ross 3, E. Jacques 3, G. Overbay 3, T. Robinette 3

BHHS: Addison Wray 25, Madison Stotts 18, Faith Isenhour 16, B. Hamlett 7, O. Ellis 4, A. Stoker 2, C. Bryant 2, D. Linebarger 1, C. Robinson 1

Notables: Brianna Tadlock earned 24 points and two assists in her final game for the Lady Mustangs. Tadlock finished her career with 1,668 points.

Records: Bunker Hill (21-7); East Lincoln (16-11)

Up Next: Bunker Hill plays No. 7 Franklin (20-6) on the road at 7 p.m.

MOUNTAIN HERITAGE 68, MAIDEN 36

MT.HHS – 23 12 15 18 = 68

MHS – 17 8 1 10 = 36

MHS: Gracie Arrowood 5, Maggie Andrews 5, Lainee Hentschel 2, Maggie Sigmon 7, Nadia Glover 3, Cree Bass 11, Marley Mingus 3

MT.HHS: Hughes 2, Tipton 18, Ray 15, McGee 3, Atkins 2, Evans 5, Pate 8, Robinson 15

Records: Maiden (14-14); Mountain Heritage (20-6)

BOYS

EAST LINCOLN 55, EAST BURKE 38

East Lincoln - 18 7 17 13 = 55
East Burke - 8 6 8 16 = 38

East Lincoln (12-2, 24-4): Jeremiah Jones 12, Evan Montanari 6, Matthew McCowan 4, Myles Adams 0, Drew Bean 1, Justin Kuthan 22, Ethan Staples 6, Logan Craig 2, Petey Nichols 0, Nyckolas Clarke 2, Justin Brown 0, Jalen Williams 0, Spencer Farr 0

East Burke (9-5, 14-13): Luke Coble 4, Micah Chrisco 6, Logan Shuford 9, Cam Propst 7, Trey Ward 7, Seth Pruitt 5

Of Note: The Mustangs have made the playoffs 16 straight years and made it to at least the 2nd round 14 of those years. East Lincoln has won 11 games in a row and 18 of their last 19 games.

Up Next: The Mustangs will next be in action on Thursday night as they travel to Hendersonville to take on the Bearcats at 7 p.m.

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