CHARLOTTE -- When the going got tough, Northwestern's Kelia Shelton got going at Bobcats Arena on Wednesday.
Shelton keyed a third-quarter rally that helped the Lady Trojans break away from Nation Ford for a 42-31 win.
"I was as calm I've been all year when we talked at the half,'' first-year Northwestern coach John Bramlett said. "I told them the game would come down to a matter of us playing with a purpose. We'll be a good team when we start playing a full 32 minutes.''
The first half ended with Northwestern (3-8, 2-1 Region 3-AAAA) clinging to a 22-18 lead thanks to an eight-point run late in the second quarter. Shelton kept the Lady Trojans in the game with 11 first-half points. She scored the final eight of her game-high 19 points in the third quarter.
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Shelton got Northwestern going with a short jumper for a 24-18 lead, but Nation Ford (4-8, 1-2) wouldn't go away. Northwestern added four more points on baskets from Najee Thompson and Gabrielle Bennett, but the Lady Falcons responded with five points from Katie Kozlowski, who scored 15 points, and trailed just 28-23 midway through the period.
Then it was Shelton time. She nailed two straight 3-pointers and Amber Stewart closed out the quarter with a follow shot.
Bennett scored again, this time on a putback to start the final quarter that capped a 10-point run and pushed Northwestern ahead 38-23.
That did it for Nation Ford, which put up a good fight. The Lady Falcons led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, getting seven points from Kozlowski and Morgan Wolf's driving jumper just before the buzzer.
The Lady Falcons went up 15-14 on Lindsay Buckles' 3-pointer, but it was the last time Nation Ford held the lead.
• SOUTH POINTE 55, YORK 37 -- At York, South Pointe shifted gears down the stretch, outscoring York 29-17 in the final two quarters for a road victory.
York (5-2, 1-2 Region 3-AAAA) trailed by four, 24-20, at the half, and was within six late in the third.
South Pointe turned up the defensive pressure and went on a 10-0 surge, with Ashauna Bost launching a long 3-pointer, Tianna Hemphill scoring on the inside while being fouled and Chelsea Douglas netting a short-range jumper.
Leading 46-30 with 5:17 remaining, South Pointe was able to add the finishing touch with a 7-2 surge with Alisha Hope scoring five straight. Douglas sunk another jumper to put the game out of reach, 53-32, within the final two minutes.
"We seem to be a second-half team," South Pointe coach Brett Childers said. "We turned it up defensively in the second half. For us to come here and win in this building with the tradition that York has is huge for us.
"We seem to be gaining confidence with each win; we also have different girls stepping up for us at crucial times in each game."
• ROCK HILL 56, FORT MILL 48 -- At Fort Mill, Rock Hill built a double-digit lead and then held on to post its first Region 3-AAAA win of the season.
Laquesha Crockett scored 19 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double for the 'Cats. Shandrice Erby scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half. Her 3-pointer with about three minutes left was a much-needed lift.
Rock Hill led 42-32 with 5:52 remaining. Fort Mill's defense led to an 11-4 run as Megan Killmeyer found her shooting touch.
Killmeyer, Fort Mill's leading scorer coming into the game, was 1-for-9 from the floor in the first half. She scored eight points in the final four minutes as the Jackets pulled to within three, 46-43.
Erby then buried a 3-pointer from the corner and Rock Hill knocked down seven free throws in the closing minutes to ice the game.
"Rock Hill really gave us some chances to win down the stretch but Erby's three was the dagger," Fort Mill coach Todd Bowser said.
Fort Mill shot just 21 percent from the floor -- 15-of-72. Jenna White, a freshman, poured in a career-best 20 points. She made more than half of the Yellow Jackets' field goals.
Rock Hill coach Eric Rollings was glad to get the win.
"We did some dumb things and allowed (Fort Mill) to get back in the game. This is a young group. We are still finding out what we can do," Rollings said. "The win is big for us. To start out 0-3 in this region would make it tough to make the playoffs."