Tigers give Norris victory No. 500
Win No. 500 for Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris was a gem, and she had to dig for it, too.
On the road in the Carolina 6 Conference against a scrappy team that drew early energy from its passionate coach, there was nothing perfunctory or ceremonial about the Tigers’ 57-37 victory over Southern Vance on Tuesday.
“That was a really tough game,” Norris said. “We have the most respect for them, because they’re very athletic and their point guard was runner-up for conference player of the year last year in our conference. So we knew we had to play hard in order to be able to take a victory away tonight.”
Lady Raiders guard Breona Jones had a game-high 20 points.
Rashyda Burwell threw one off the glass to give Southern Vance its first lead of the game, 16-14 with 2:50 left in the first half.
Southern Vance coach Amy Simpson had her team believing, and the Lady Raiders took a 21-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Norris wasn’t having it.
“At halftime, we told them we had to match their intensity of play, and I’ve not had to say that to my team this year,” Norris said. “They picked it up a notch and matched the intensity and came out in the second half and played hard.”
Chapel Hill’s Jamella Smith scored all of her team-high 18 points in the second half, 15 of them in the third period.
“A breakout quarter,” Simpson said. “Obviously, their star player, she went off and got kind of free. That right there kind of hurt us a whole lot.”
Chapel Hill’s Autumn West was a load with her 16 points.
Before the game, the public-address announcer introduced the Chapel Hill coach as “the legendary Sherry Norris” and afterward lauded her achievement on behalf of the Vance County School System.
“She coached against me when I was in high school,” Simpson said, recalling a holiday tournament at Chapel Hill during her days playing at Eden Morehead. “It was a big win for her — hat’s off, congrats.”
Norris has been reluctant to make a big deal of her accomplishments that include a state championship in basketball and 710 volleyball wins, which include two state championships.
But Norris admitted that the 500th basketball victory felt pretty special.
“Yeah, it is,” Norris said. “You don’t ever set out thinking that you’re going to have 500 wins.”
Norris’ players, wearing T-shirts commemorating the moment, mobbed her after the game.
Years ago, Norris figured she would retire after getting 500 basketball wins and 700 volleyball victories.
After the final horn sounded at Southern Vance, Norris still looked like she was having fun.
Chapel Hill (G) 57, S. Vance 37
CHAPEL HILL — Tamia Eatmon 4, Arianne Jacobs 1, Jessica Wall 1, Raziyah Farrington 9, Catherine Romaine 8, Jamella Smith 18, Autumn West 16.
SOUTHERN VANCE — Rashyda Burwell 5, Kiyanna Kearney 2, Breona Jones 20, Carslin Talley 5, Brielle Barrow 3, Alyssa Wilkins 2.
Records—Chapel Hill 19-1, 6-0 Carolina 6; Southern Vance 16-3, 4-2.
Chapel Hill (B) 37, S. Vance 36
Chapel Hill’s Stephen Himmelberg Jr. stole the ball from Southern Vance and had to get a little creative while in the air for what turned out to be the winning layup with 6 seconds left in the game.
By a razor’s edge, the Tigers beat the Runnin’ Raiders 37-36.
“Some nights you’ve got to win ugly,” Chapel Hill coach Tod Morgan said. “We hung around enough and stole it at the end.”
Southern Vance’s Ty-Traveon Roberts erupted with three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to rally his squad. He finished with six 3-pointers and a game-high 22 points.
The Runnin’ Rebels hurt themselves by not taking care of the ball when Chapel Hill was in scramble mode at the end of the game.
“We’ve got to make free throws,” Southern Vance coach Torrey Nowell said. “We can’t turn the ball over. I mean, that’s all there is.”
Chapel Hill (B) 37, S. Vance 36
CHAPEL HILL — Stephen Himmelberg Jr. 8, Anthony Vanhook 4, Elliot Orenstein 8, Shane Turner 6, Brian Thornton 3, Ryan Hegedus 4, Treshawn Craig 4.
SOUTHERN VANCE — Jamal Williams 6, Ty-Traveon Roberts 22, Cameron Evans 8.