Ford, North enjoy 1st-round win
SPENCER — Fans were wondering whether Malik Ford's injured foot would allow him to even play anymore this season, much less be effective.
The6-foot-7 Ford answered that question the first time he touched the ball Monday night in the Cavaliers' 99-34 pasting of South Stanly in a first-round sectional game.
Ford and the second team took the court midway through the first quarter with North up 9-2 and he simply dominated.
Ford immediately caught an alley-oop and stuffed it. By halftime, he had shown all sorts of moves underneath, including a couple of beautiful hooks.
“We've been trying to get him to throw the hook for three years,” smiled coach Andrew Mitchell. “It was nice to see that.”
Ford actually scored 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter as North (25-3) led 27-8.
The only other action for Ford came in the third, when he added another hook and a pretty spin move.
Afterward, he had a little limp and a big smile.
“My teammates let me get into my rhythm,” he said.
“Doctors said to let him go as long as he could endure the pain,” Mitchell noted. “Right now, he says it's not bothering him. I've just got to work him back into the rotation.”
Speaking of rotations, Mitchell has three of them and each scored at will against South Stanly (8-16). It was a 30-3 third quarter. At one point in the fourth, it was 63-point lead at 85-22 after an Alex Billingsly floater.
“It's David vs. Goliath —with us, anyway,” said South coach Mike Crump. “They're quicker, taller and more athletic in every aspect. I told our guys to come and have fun. We're 75-point underdogs. We're not supposed to win.”
It didn't really matter who Mitchell played. Each Cavalier had his moments.
“We took the starters out real early and the subs played better,” he said.
Especially Sanders who lit it up for 15 quick points. Dalton Nelson and brother Brandon combined for 17. Devon Tate slammed home a dunk. Alexis Archie stroked a 3 and had five points. Oshon West led the starters with 10 while Mike Connor and Michael Bowman each had six.
But no one felt better than Ford.
“It felt great,” he said of getting some quality court time.
•NOTES: North beat South this season by 52, 47 and 65. ... Kihrey Ellis and Dalton Nelson each had nine rebounds. ... North will host a second-round game Wednesday at 7. SOUTH STANLY (34) —Richardson 12, Johnson 8, W. Smith 8, Burris 2, Granadoes 2, T. Smith 2.
NORTH ROWAN (99) — Ford 18, Sanders 15, West 10, D. Nelson 10, B. Nelson 7, Connor 6, Bowman 6, Archie 5, Tate 4, Ellis 4, Billingsly 4, Walker 4, Bates 3, Handy 3.S. Stanly 8 11 3 12 — 34
N. Rowan 27 26 38 16 — 99