South boys win
LANDIS — After a difficult week off the court, South Rowan came together as a team Friday.
The Raiders fought through injuries, adversity and a spirited charge by Northwest Cabarrus — all in a tumultuous fourth quarter — to pull out a hard-fought 71-62 victory.
“It was a big win for us,” South coach Bryan Withers explained. “We had a lot of circumstances that we had to fight through this week and I didn’t know how our guys would react. It gets tough mentally on myself and the players at times. One thing they did was they stuck together today.
“Things happen and you have to adjust,” he continued. “Our motto is that we are a family, so we all have to stick together everyday no matter what. I will fight for those kids to the end, and as you can see, they’ll fight for me.”
And fight they did. After seeing their double-digit lead dip to three late in the third quarter, the Raiders scored the final seven points of the frame — highlighted by a buzzer-beating triple by reserve Colson Childers — to take a 10-point cushion to the fourth.
Tvadis Graham-Wesley converted a three-point play early in the final period to extend the lead out to 18 (55-37) as the Raiders had the game all but wrapped up.
The Trojans then jump-started a rally, scoring seven of the next nine to cut the deficit to 11. Helped by a five-second violation on an inbound play, Northwest cut it to six on an Andrew Wheet 3-pointer with 1:00 left.
After starters Shawn Spry and Christian Holbrook fouled out of the game and Graham-Wesley was helped off the court with a back injury, junior Qwan Rhyne calmly told his team to just “slow down and complete plays.”
Powered by Rhyne’s 10 fourth-quarter points, including four big free throws in the final 36 seconds, South gutted out the victory.
“I don’t think my guys are afraid to win a game in the end,” Withers said. “I think earlier in the year when it came late in the game, we had no identity so we didn’t know where the ball should be. I thought we took care of the ball and were patient enough to make them foul us. Then we knocked down free throws.”
The Raiders, now 4-4 in the SPC, moved into the thick of the league standings with the win.
“Now we can still fight for something,” Withers added.
NORTHWEST CABARRUS (62) — A. Wheet 25, Caldwell 13, Cummings 8, Hathcock 6, Davis 5, Conklin 3, Mann 2, Murray, Mosley, Chapman, Leach, M. Wheet, Posley,.
SOUTH ROWAN (71) — Rhyne 18, Spry 12, Hill 11, Graham-Wesley 11, Holbrook 8, Wilder 6, Childers 3, Goldston 2.
NW CABARRUS 15 10 11 26 — 62
S. Rowan 15 11 20 25 — 71