TYRO — West Davidson got the game it wanted Wednesday night against South Rowan — for one half.
But the Green Dragons are still looking to finish.
Qwantarius Rhyne led a balanced attack with 13 points while Josh Medlin had 12 and Shawn Spry 10 as the visiting Raiders rallied for a 54-47 win on Crim Court.
West (0-7) led 24-17 at halftime but lost Zach Queen, perhaps their best on-ball defender, to a broken nose in the second quarter and center David Monk got in foul trouble, limiting his effectiveness on the defensive end. The Dragons were also 2-for-11 from the free throw line.
“I didn’t feel like we brought enough energy to the game even though we had some success in the first half,” said first-year West coach Derrick Stokes. “We didn’t have the energy we had previously.”
That would be the night before when the Dragons held a big lead before losing 40-39 to Ledford on a last-second layup.
Still, Stokes sees progress.
“We have the pieces,” he said. “The last time we played, we lost by 16 and were never really in it. Tonight, we played really hard and we had a chance.”
And that led to South Rowan coach Bryan Withers challenging his team.
“We had to play defense,” Withers said. “I mean in the first half they were beating us off the dribble, we weren’t helping. That’s really a matter of pride. Do what you’re supposed to do or I will find somebody to do it in your place. I think we came out and started playing.”
The Raiders (3-3) got a pair of quick buckets from Medlin and Rhyne to establish themselves. West still had a six-point lead when the 6-3 Monk, who had 10 points, picked up his third foul and a spot on the bench.
Couple that with Queen’s absence and the Dragons found themselves in a bad spot. The Raiders reeled off an 11-0 run to take the lead for good at 36-30 with a minute left in the third quarter. Spry hit a pair of 3-pointers, Eric Taylor hit one and the cat-quick Rhyne drove coast-to-coast for a layup.
“I think when Zach Queen went down hurt we realized how special he is to this team defensively,” Stokes said. “I do think our defense dropped off with him out of the ballgame. South Rowan, I think, made some good adjustments also.”
The Raiders led by as much as 10 in the first quarter and West, despite Tyler Grooms scoring eight of his game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, couldn’t catch up. West did have a chance to make up some ground in a hurry with 2:20 left when Medlin was called for an intentional foul after a scrum that had bodies being tossed all over the place. But Austin Teague missed both free throws and the Dragons failed to score a basket on the ensuing possession.
South Rowan girls coach Jarrod Smith probably wouldn’t have believed it if you told him his team would shoot an awful 10-for-32 from the free throw line and still end up with a win.
But that is indeed what happened Wednesday night in Tyro.
Cassidy Chipman scored 20 points and Avery Locklear added 17 as the Raiders overcame West Davidson 55-46 in a game where it seemed like at times that the rims had lids on them.
Callie Herman had 15 points for West but had defenders draped all over her all night.
“The last time we played them, we had one girl go 20-for-27 by herself from the free throw line,” Smith said. “We played hard. We played better defense. We put a lot of pressure on No. 15 (Herman). Our girls did a good job of keeping her away from the basketball.”
As bad as the Raiders (3-3) were from the line, West wasn’t much better and couldn’t take advantage. The Dragons were shut out from behind the arc and were just 11-for-24 from the line.
“We had a poor night shooting,” said West coach David Klinkoski. “But you have to attribute that to their defense. They were in our faces. We go 0-for-9 on 3-pointers and make 28 turnovers. You’re not going to win too many ballgames like that.
Emily Hutchinson scored nine points for West, which fell to 2-5.
SOUTH ROWAN (54) — Rhyne 13, Medlin 12, Spry 10, Carter 6, Holbrook 5, Wesley 5, Taylor 3.
CENTRAL DAVIDSON(47) — Grooms 14, Monk 10, Kahn 8, Teague 7, Queen 5, Beck 3.
S. Rowan 9 8 19 18 — 54
W. Davidson 10 14 9 15 — 47
SOUTH ROWAN (55) — Locklear 12, Chipman 8, Bost 3, Hubbard 2, McClendon 2, Coley 1.
CENTRAL DAVIDSON(46) — P. Chavis 16, Burkhart 15, Young 10, J. Chavis 8, Shoaf 8, McMath 6, Hedrick 6, Johnson 3, Briggs 3.
S. Rowan 18 16 11 10 — 55
W. Davidson 10 12 13 11 — 46