Moir Christmas Classic: North Rowan boys 78, Salisbury 50
SALISBURY — North Rowan coach Andrew Mitchell emphasized defense coming into Friday’s semifinal of the Moir Christmas Classic against Salisbury.
The Cavs defended their home away from home, that being Goodman Gym, and took their sixth straight game at Catawba in a 78-50 win.
North broke open a close game with a stout second quarter and outrebounded Salisbury 48-32 to advance to tonight’s final against Davie County. The Cavs had four scorers in double figures and forced Salisbury to shoot 28 percent in the first half.
“We watched film this morning and guys noticed we were being lazy on defense,” Mitchell said. “Not playing much with our hands. We were aggressive but weren’t making deflections. We wanted to emphasize deflections.”
North’s Michael Bowman claimed a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds while grabbing fourth of North’s 14 steals.
“When [Bowman] is on top of his game, he makes us go,” Mitchell said.
Malik Ford (12 points) and Michael Connor (11 points) had solid games as did freshman Jalen Sanders, who finished with 11 points and three steals. North also grabbed 21 offensive rebounds which led to 66 field goal attempts for North to Salisbury’s 50. The Cavs shot 43.9 percent for the game. Salisbury made just 28 percent of its first-half shots.
“Whenever you play a team that’s as gifted as they are you don’t have a big margin for error,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “We had way too many errors whether its missing 14 free throws or turning the ball over. You can’t do those things and have a chance to win.”
Salisbury (4-6) plays Carson today at 4:30 p.m. in the third-place game.
The Cavaliers (7-2) beat Davie 60-59 in the Moir final last year. They’ve won seven straight since dropping two games in the Charlotte Hoops Challenge to start the season. Tonight, the top two seeds will battle for the Moir crown in a matchup everyone anticipated.
“If we stay steady, we don’t allow teams to go on 7-0, 8-0 runs,” Mitchell said. “I like how we responded in the second half. We shot the ball much better.”
North was challenged by Salisbury earlier this month in a 58-45 win on the same floor. The opening quarter provided competitive basketball despite not a lot of points. Salisbury guard Nick Brown hit a runner at the end of the first quarter to make it 9-8 North. Sanders hit two buckets to start the second quarter and Ford got a putback on a third chance. Brandon Nelson’s chippie made it 17-8 and the Cavs had the first eight points of the quarter. The Hornets were scoreless for the first 4:30 of the second quarter.
“We can’t afford to have quarters where we don’t score,” Causby said. “We had two of them in the first half.”
Salisbury managed just eight points in each the first and second quarter. The Hornets were 3 of 12 from the line in the first half while North sunk all nine of its first-half free throws. At one point Salisbury was 3 of 16 from the line. It ended up 11 of 25.
“You can’t hang your head at all against these guys because it’s only going to get worse,” Causby said.
Bowman hit a 3 and Ford sunk a pair of free throws to make the halftime score 29-16. Salisbury climbed back into it on six straight points from freshman Wes Fazia for a 34-24 deficit.
A bucket from West halted the run and Michael Connor steal at halfcourt ended with a slam from Bowman that made it 38-24. A trey from Sanders pushed the lead to 48-27 and North ended the third on an 11-2 spurt.
“We played really well on defense,” said Sanders,” playing in his first Moir. “The game starts with that. Coach emphasized that before the game.”
Fazia got a season-best 16 points on 8 of 14 shooting to lead the Hornets. DeShawn Troutman hit three treys and finished with 13 points.
SALISBURY (50) —Fazia 16, Troutman 13, Hillie 6, Usry 6, T. Petty 3, Alexander 2, Brown 2, Yang 2, Adams, J. Petty.
NORTH ROWAN (78) — Bowman 17, Ford 12, Connor 11, Sanders 11, West 7, Bates 7, Walker 5, Handy 2, Ellis 2, Tate 2, B. Nelson 2, D. Nelson, Billingsley, Archie.
Salisbury 8 8 14 20 — 50
N. Rowan 9 20 23 26 — 78