East boys fall to NWC
KANNAPOLIS — A drained East Rowan boys squad flirted with history on Thursday — and not positive history.
East got a little scoring flurry from Chase Brown in the fourth quarter and managed to avoid the record books, but there weren’t a lot of positives to be found in an 80-38 loss at Northwest Cabarrus that was even more lopsided than it sounds.
It was 31-8 after a quarter, 51-15 at halftime, and 71-19 after three quarters.
If you’re interested in negative East records, the most points the Mustangs ever have allowed was 109 to West Rowan in 2001-02, while the fewest the Mustangs ever have scored came in a 68-23 loss against Salisbury’s matchup zone in the 1971 Christmas tournament.
Those marks are still safe. East moved past 23 on the scoreboard when Brown hit a 3-pointer with six minutes left.
It was the third game in three nights for East, and the Mustangs had used part of their gasoline supply in a loss to Hickory Ridge on Tuesday and had used up the rest of it in Wednesday’s down-to-the-wire loss to highly regarded A.L. Brown.
“We had nothing in the tank playing for the third straight night,” East coach Trey Ledbetter said. “The guys did try, but we had nothing. We were physically exhausted. Chase and Madison (Hedrick) were the only fresh guys we had. It was just not gonna happen for us tonight.”
East (1-4) got Calvin Edwards back from illness, but it was missing Seth Wyrick, who is down with the flu bug that’s going around. Several more Mustangs remain sidelined by illness or injury.
There’s a tried-and-true basketball math equation that reads — exhausted team plus hot team equals blowout. Northwest (3-0) was on, and it was basically over after five minutes. Northwest, which was raining 3s and getting tough interior defense from rugged Christian King, led 24-5 at that point.
“We knew East was going to be tired and we knew they were shorthanded,” Northwest coach Daniel Jenkins said. “We knew our edge would be in their tiredness, and we took advantage of that by doing a good job of pressuring the basketball.”
Matthew Wheet had 20 of his 25 points before halftime. He and his brother, Andrew, combined for seven 3-pointers.
East made only three 3s — one each by Josh Gobble, Sam Wyrick and Brown.
“The way Northwest was shooting the ball, we could’ve had nine guys out there guarding them, and it wouldn’t have mattered at all,” said Ledbetter, shaking his head.
but Harrison Bell and Dock Corpening got some inside buckets as the Mustangs ended the game on a 19-4 run. That finishing kick, while way too little and way too late, showed both coaches something.
“They kept running their stuff even when they were way down and that’s the sign of a good team,” Jenkins said. “They just had an off night. We know we’re not that much better than them, and I’m sure they’ll do fine the rest of the season.”
The postgame wasn’t much fun either, as a fracas broke out in the tunnel leading to the NWC locker room following the traditional handshakes.
“It was kids being kids,” Ledbetter said. “It was a sad way to end it.”
EAST ROWAN (38) — Gobble 10, Brown 9, Ball 6, Means 4, Corpening 4, Sa. Wyrick 3, Honeycutt 2, Edwards, Hedrick.
NW CABARRUS(80) — M. Wheet 25, Murray 11, Caldwell 11, Spencer 6, Beaty 6, A. Wheet 6, Hagopian 6, Rucker 5, King 4.
E. Rowan 8 7 4 19 — 38
NW Cabarrus 31 20 20 9 — 80