North boys stunned by Mooresville
SPENCER — North Rowan coach Andrew Mitchell saw Thursday’s shocking 67-49 loss to Mooresville coming, even if no one else did.
“Since we beat Bull City (on Saturday), the guys have been floating around like they’re the kings of the world,” Mitchell said. “It was a case of too much success too early. I could tell the last few days we weren’t focused, and my fears were realized.”
Mitchell rarely calls plays, but he called one early Thursday to see if his team was concentrating.
That set play was supposed to conclude with a dunk. Instead, the Cavs wound up firing up a long 3.
Mitchell yanked all his starters three minutes into the game with the Cavs down 7-1, but even that wakeup-call attempt didn’t work.
“I’ve never been one of those guys that subscribed to the thinking that a loss could be a good thing, but in this case, I really believe it is,” Mitchell said. “This was a loss this team needed.”
Mooresville was only too happy to serve a slice of humble pie. North had won 67-54 at Mooresville, taking the Blue Devils to school with ferocious pressure and relentless work on the boards.
‘The game at our place, North took it to us, and they gave us a butt-kicking on the boards,” Mooresville coach Michael Micklow said. “Tonight, we gave them one.”
Mooresville came into the game 0-4, while North entered its home gym with a 3-0 mark. Santa was in the bleachers, and all was merry and bright until tipoff.
It was an astonishing game. Mooresville would lead by as many as 26 points, matching the number of years Mitchell has been a basketball coach.
Ballhandler Jordan Vanderburg and Ralph Montgomery, a strong, 6-foot-3 forward who has the same sort of physical presence that MyQuon Stout gives Carson, were the key guys for the Blue Devils.
“Jordan is young, but he was the man tonight,” Micklow said. “And this is Ralph’s team. He’s been around. He’s our leader and he kept everyone calm.”
North started out bad and got worse. The visitors, gaining confidence with every North misfire, led 15-9 after a quarter.
Then North shot 1-for-12 in the second quarter against Mooresville’s 2-3 zone and limped to halftime down 34-11. At halftime, North’s big three of Michael Bowman, Michael Connor and Jalen Sanders — three of the county’s best — had combined for three points.
Still, everyone knew the Cavs would make a run.
And the run came. Kenyon Tatum hammered down one of the those crowd-energizing dunks, and Mooresville’s third-quarter lead melted from 26 to 22 to 17 to 14, and finally to 12.
Twice, Sanders drilled 3s to get the margin down to a dozen, but the Blue Devils answered with big shots of their own, and North could get no closer.
The comeback attempt drained North, and the fouls piled up. Mooresville made 15 free throws in the fourth quarter, as Connor, Tatum, Sanders and Bowman all fouled out.
“We all did too much individual stuff tonight,” Bowman said. “We didn’t work together as a team and we didn’t listen to our coaches. When that happens, you get beat.”
MOORESVILLE (67) — Montgomery 17, Vanderburg 16, Richter 10, Mikombo 7, Greenwell 5, Wardlow 5, Williams 4, Celestine 3, Lee.
NORTH ROWAN (49) — Bowman 12, Sanders 11, Tatum 9, Nelson 4, Scott 4, Connor 3, Archie 2, Coney 2, Handy 2, Walker, Bates.
Mooresville 15 19 13 20 — 67
N. Rowan 9 2 21 17 — 49