Prep Basketball: North Rowan boys finish regular season in record-setting fashion
DENTON — Late in North Rowan’s game at South Davidson Friday, Dalton Nelson finished a alley oop from under the basket. The North sideline erupted as it reached the century mark in scoring. Yet the double-digit scoreboard read Home 40, Guest 00.
It was symbolic of the season in the Yadkin Valley Conference. Nothing could contain North, who saved its best show for last in setting a school record as well as a county record for points in a game. The Cavaliers’ 116-44 rout ended the conference slate unbeaten at 16-0.
The conference mark was also a school best for North, inarguably the top seed in next week’s conference tournament.
“We talked about there were two records out there to get,” North coach Andrew Mitchell said. “We didn’t want to run the score up but anytime you can set records and leave a mark, you want to do that.”
The previous best for points in a North game was 105 all the way back in January 1989. That mark was snapped on a three-pointer from Brandon Nelson with under three minutes to play. North came close to breaking the record in the first game against South in a 101-32 win. This time the Cavs broke 100 points with six minutes left to play. The county record was previously 112 by West Rowan during the 2000-2001 season.
“I can go down and say I was a part of this game,” Dalton Nelson said. “We were part of history.”
North (21-3, 16-0) had control of the game at halftime, up 52-27. The third quarter saw the Cavs put up a remarkable 41. Mike Connor scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the third frame. The junior guard had six layups in the quarter.
“Coach told us to act like we’re always down 10 points at halftime,” Connor said.
Even in that scenario, they would have still won comfortably, hitting the first six shots of the second half.
The Cavs did it without starters Michael Bowman, who had a tooth pulled, and Malik Ford, who was still nursing an injury. Nonetheless, six scorers were in double digits for North. Jalen Sanders (15), T.J. Bates (14), Dalton Nelson (13), Shareef Walker (12) and Oshon West (12) all had big games.
“They’re bigger, faster, and stronger than we are,” South coach Matt Belk said. “Even when they clear their bench, they’ve got juniors and seniors and we’ve got freshman and sophomores.”
Dalton Nelson, who started for Ford, pitched in a career-best 13 points and blocked three shots.
“It’s a lot to keep going when you have a good player like Malik stepping out,” Nelson said. “I just wanted to carry his load.”
North went up 11-0 three and a half minutes into action with a youthful South squad only having attempted one field goal. Dalton Nelson enjoyed his starting role by slamming home an alley oop from Sanders.
“We wanted to come out focused and not have a letdown,” Mitchell said. “That third quarter where we scored 40-something points was amazing. This team will always be remembered.”NORTH ROWAN (116) — Connor 23, Sanders 15, Bates 14, D. Nelson 13, West 12, Walker 12, Tate 9, B. Nelson 9, Archie 6, Ellis 3, Billingsley.
SOUTH DAVIDSON (44) —Shore 11, Ball 9, Gallimore 6, Stevenson 6, Hazelwood 3, Crook 3, Cornelison 3, Needham 2, Dowdle 1, Collins, McHorne, Riffle, Hedrick.N. Rowan 28 24 41 23 — 116S. Davidson 10 17 12 5 — 44