Prep Basketball: North Rowan falls to Winston-Salem Prep in 2 OTs
By Ryan Bisesi
GREENSBORO — Just like two years ago, Winston-Salem Prep would give North Rowan its most challenging task of the season. Two years later, the Phoenix found a way to be two points better.
Of the all the comparisons made between the two 1A giants, their differences were apparent at Fleming Gym. North hit 6 of 16 foul shots in the overtime periods and didn’t find other ways to score in Friday’s 72-70 double-overtime loss to Winston-Salem Prep. North played without seniors Oshon West, Malik Ford and T.J. Bates for crucial intervals as the Cavaliers swung their swords for the final time.
“I’m proud of my kids and the way that they played,” North coach Andrew Mitchell said. “I give this team total praise.”
Prep’s Mike Hughes stole the ball under the basket and laid in the go-ahead bucket with 47 seconds left in the second overtime session.
“If we move 30 miles south that’s us,” Prep coach Andre Gould said. “We knew that they were the second-best team in North Carolina. They could very easily be the best.”
Bates, generally a defensive catalyst, provided unexpected offense with 18 points. Cramps in both
calves caused the senior to miss the final two minutes of the second overtime. Prep advanced to play East Surry today despite a 6:16 stretch without a field goal after regulation.
“Everybody was physically and emotionally spent,” said frustrated North coach Andrew Mitchell. “When you go down the court all night being rolled by defenders and you lose the ball, that’s frustrating and that causes cramps.”
Prep won with one basket in the second overtime, that being Hughes steal and layup. The Phoenix shot 42 free throws, hitting 28. The Cavs finished 13 of 29 from the stripe.
Both teams struggled through a 10-10 first quarter and the Cavs went on a 6-0 run to enjoy a 19-13 lead. Sanders hit a jumper at the end of the half for a 27-25 edge at halftime. Ford, Bates and West all picked up their third fouls in the third quarter and each picked up their fourth in the last quarter of regulation.
“They can play with their studs the whole game and we have to play half the game without our big guns,” Mitchell said. “These kids were rolled and beat all night.”
With the season on the line, Prep guard Raekwon Harney scored a game-high 26 points, getting 13 from the foul line. Jalen Sanders led North with 19 points on 6 of 12 shooting.
The Cavs lost for the first time since the Moir Christmas Classic to end the year 27-4.
“I know they say we play in a weak conference,” Mitchell said. “But we were beating teams that were beating up on each other by 30 and 40.”
Michael Connor, last week’s hero against Monroe, drained a trey from the corner to put North up 62-57 with 1:30 left in the first overtime. Harney drew a foul on Michael Connor six seconds later and hit three crucial free throws. Sanders sunk the second of two free throws with nine seconds left to put the Cavs up two. Harney drove the length of the floor and coaxed Malik Ford’s fifth foul with three seconds left. Harney hit both shots to send it to the second overtime.
“This hurt real bad,” West said. “We should have won that game to be honest but we’ve got to move on.”
Hughes finished with 17 points for Prep and big man Coye Simmons had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Connor hit two free throws to start the second OT and turned it over three times on its next three possessions. Michael Bowman went to the line with 21 seconds left and North down 67-65. Both chances were off. Aaron Lipscomb canned two from the line and the Cavs threw it out of bounds with 15 seconds left. Sanders hit two from the line and canned a 3 at the buzzer for the final margin.
“For my last game to be an L it hurts,” said a crushed Ford. “This team was like my brothers.”
NORTH ROWAN (70) — Sanders 19, Bates 18, West 16, Bowman 6, Connor 5, Ford 5, B. Nelson 2, Handy, Walker, Ellis, Archie, D. Nelson.
WINSTON-SALEM PREP (72) — Harney 26, Hughes 17, Simmons 14, Lipscomb 10, Tibbs 3, Roseboro 2.
N. Rowan 10 17 18 11 11 7 — 70
W.S. Prep 10 15 20 7 11 9 — 72