Prep Basketball: East Rowan boys 56, South Davidson 25
DENTON — East Rowan’s boys hit the ground running Friday night and raced to their first victory.
The Mustangs, still smarting from Tuesday’s lopsided loss at Salisbury, jumped to an early lead at South Davidson and won easily 56-25.
“It was very important that we came out and put our foot on the pedal early,” coach Trey Ledbetter said. “We put them down and kept them down. And when we got them down we kept our composure and didn’t get sloppy. We stayed crisp.”
East (1-1) built a 9-2 lead in the opening three minutes and methodically expanded its edge. The Mustangs were paced by energized sophomore Seth Wyrick, who shot 4-for-6 from three-point range and topped all scorers with 16 points.
“I’ve always been sort of a 3-point shooter, even though I struggled the other night against Salisbury,” he said. “Tonight I just shot it and didn’t worry about anything.”
Wyrick was firing heat-seeking missiles in the second and third quarters. His first 3-ball came from the deep right side and gave ER an 18-5 lead. Later he connected from the left to provide 26-8 advantage. Then he scored eight points during a 90-second flurry in the second half — on a 3-pointer from the left wing, a steal/fastbreak layup combo and another three from the left side.
“A goal tonight was for him to knock down two threes,” Ledbetter said afterward. “He wound up knocking down four. We’ve been looking for someone to be our shooter and I think we found one tonight in Seth.”
Conor Honeycutt added 11 points and five steals for East, which played shutdown defense. South Davidson (0-1) was limited to nine field goals, including just four in the second half.
“We all worked hard on defense this week. That was our main focus,” junior guard Donte Means said after contributing two steals and four defensive rebounds. “We’re not really worried about the offense too much. If you have good defense, that generates offense — and we kept playing it all night.”
Ledbetter believes East’s high-pressure, man-to-man defense — anchored by Means — will play a vital role this winter. “Donte took control of this game defensively,” he said. “He had a plethora of deflections. The way we play, we want our guards to be our best rebounders so our offense can start earlier. That’s what we’re pushing. When we get a rebound we’re getting upcourt quickly.”
The Mustangs closed the third quarter on a 10-2 run and led 50-22 with eight minutes to play. Honeycutt’s 3-pointer and Madison Hedrick’s short-range jumper padded the lead. Joshua Moses’ free-throw with 1:14 remaining capped East’s 9-for-11 night from the line and gave it a 33-point lead.
“We had to come out here and get after it,” Wyrick smiled. “If we even slacked off once we’d have to run suicides.”
An interesting subplot was found on the SD bench, where former East player and jayvee coach Matt Belk labored through his first game as a head coach. His youthful team never led and he was whistled for a technical foul in the second period when he argued for a call that wasn’t made.
“In the preseason they called that same play a backcourt against us,” he noted. “That’s the only reason I made a fuss.”
EAST ROWAN (56) — Se.Wyrick 16, Honeycutt 11, Means 8, Gobble 8, Sa.Wyrick 6, Brown 2, Bell 2, Hedrick 2, Moses 1, Corpening.
SOUTH DAVIDSON(25) — Collins 6, Stevenson 6, Shore 4, Hazelwood 4, Hedrick 2, Dowdle 2, Needham 1.
E. Rowan 15 17 18 6 — 56
S. Davidson 5 8 9 3 — 25