North Rowan boys rout Albemarle
SPENCER — In Thursday’s 65-35 romp, North Rowan made rival Albemarle look like just another YVC opponent.
What’s scary about that is Albemarle (13-2, 9-2) is ranked eighth in 1A and hasn’t lost to anyone except the Cavaliers.
“We’re ranked fourth in 1A and they’re ranked eighth, and the atmosphere was crazy tonight, so this was a game where we could show people what we can do,” North senior T.J. Bates said. “Albemarle is a good team, with some strong football bodies that beat us up some, but we kind of went old-school. We beat them with great defense and offensive rebounding.”
North (16-3, 11-0) couldn’t throw it in the ocean, making only two 3-pointers and shooting a brutal 19-for-43 from the foul line, but it won in a breeze.
Had North had close to a normal shooting night, it might’ve won by 50. But it’s not like the Bulldogs weren’t scrapping and fighting on the defensive end.
North led 64-26 when seniors Bates, Malik Ford and Oshon West called it a night with four minutes left. Albemarle then closed with a mini-run that included a pair of 3-balls by Shawn Baldwin.
“This was the worst we’ve shot the ball in a long time,” North coach Andrew Mitchell said. “But I thought we played good defense against a tough, physical team. Our numbers made a difference, and we did the little things well. We were concerned about this game, but we had a very intense practice on Wednesday and it carried over. We had a lot of focus.”
Ford started the evening with a dunk, and when Bates hit a 3-pointer it was 9-2.
“We were crashing the boards from the start, and everyone was touching the ball,” Ford said. “When you’re doing that, even if you’re playing a team like Albemarle it can turn into a pretty easy game.”
By the end of a quarter, North was holding a comfortable 19-3 lead. No one had anticipated that.
“Every game we go into, I’m always concerned if we’re going to be able to score,” Albemarle coach Al Andrew said. “We don’t shoot well, but in most of our games we’ve been able to score off our defense. But that’s tough to do against North Rowan. I just didn’t think we could press them.”
By halftime, Albemarle owned three field goals — and there have been Albemarle football teams that have matched that accomplishment.
The halftime tally was 31-13. Even though North couldn’t buy an outside shot, it was getting enough offense off stickbacks and transition.
Michael Bowman led the Cavaliers with 16 points on second-chance stuff or fastbreaks.
West finished with 14. Freshman Jalen Sanders had 10, and Bates scored nine.
With North leading 46-18 in the third quarter, Andrew wanted a technical — and got it. West’s technical free throws made it a 30-point game.
“We couldn’t put the ball in the hole, and North Rowan is going to score,” Andrew said. “They have better basketball players at every position on the floor, and if you can’t score, they’re going to beat you bad.”
North fans even got to coach a little bit, chanting for reserve Alex Billingsley with three minutes left. Mitchell promptly sent him to the table.
• Administrator Delores Morris, a former North girls coach, was honored between games. “She’s done a lot for this community and our team,” Mitchell said. “She always provides the snacks for those little things like taking charges.”ALBEMARLE (35) — Williams 8, Blanton 6, S. Baldwin 6, Christian 5, Currie 3, Crowder 2, Autry 2, Nivens 2, Dumas 1, Brown, Ridenhour
NORTH ROWAN (65) —Bowman 16, West 14, Sanders 10, Bates 9, F ord 7, Connor 6, Walker 2, Tate 1, Billingsley, Handy, Ellis, B. Nelson, D. Nelson, Archie .Albemarle 3 10 9 13 — 35North Rowan 19 12 17 17 — 65