Prep hoops: West Rowan boys 73, South Rowan 64

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan’s vocal cheering section held up car keys and executed its “Drive home safely” cheer with precision, but the keys stayed in pockets most of Tuesday night.

West needed six 3-pointers and 20 points by bomber Zack Martin and the leadership of veteran Jamel Carpenter to hold off South Rowan 73-64.

The young Falcons (1-0) beat the rebuilding Raiders (1-2) for the sixth straight time, but both teams landed their share of jabs.

The defining play came with West clinging to a 64-58 lead with 2:23 remaining. That’s when Carpenter answered a 3-pointer by South’s Josh Doby with a high-rising slam as he wheeled to the bucket on the right baseline.

“I’ve been saving my legs, but I had to show the guys I still had it,” said a smiling Carpenter, who has scored 991 career points. “I really didn’t know what I did until after I did it. I just turned and saw no one was on me, so I went.”

The dunk highlighted Carpenter’s 17 points. He also had 14 rebounds, taking over the glass in the fourth quarter.

“Jamel kept us together, and he’s like that old guy that’s been around the NBA a long time and has the bad knees,” West coach Mike Gurley said. “That was the first time I’ve seen him really get up like that since football season.”

South hit 11 3-pointers and had four players — Wesley Honeycutt (15 points), David Wolford (13), Doby (12) and Derek Davis (10) — in double figures. Wolford had eight assists. His drive-and-kicks produced most of South’s 3-pointers.

South jumped out 6-0 on 3-pointers by Davis and Wolford and was still ahead 18-17 after the first quarter. West needed three second-quarter bombs by Martin to scratch out a 37-34 halftime lead.

“A couple of times we just lost Martin in our zone,” South coach John Davis said. “But the shots he shot, what can you say? A couple didn’t move the net.”

It was 40-40 three minutes into the second half when freshman point guard K.P. Parks put West ahead to stay with a drive down the lane. Parks had a shaky first half with 0-for-5 shooting, but he was stronger and smarter in the second half and buried two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

“He made freshman mistakes, but I made the same mistakes when I was a freshman,” Carpenter said. “He’s gonna be all right, and this team will be all right.”

Martin’s sixth 3-pointer gave the Falcons a 53-45 lead at the end of the third quarter, and South couldn’t get closer than six points in the final eight minutes.

Doby, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, made two long 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. He also produced blocks against Carpenter and developing inside force K.J. Sherrill, a long-armed sophomore who contributed 11 points, nine boards and four blocks.

“We played as a team a lot better tonight instead of being selfish,” Doby said. “The shots I hit were all because of Wolford penetrating.”

The rebounding was virtually even statistically, but John Davis said the numbers were misleading.

“We had opportunities for big rebounds, big box-outs, but we didn’t get them,” he said. “And we didn’t take charges. We had a chance to take one charge and two of our guys knocked each other down getting out of the way.”

In the end, it probably came down to Carpenter’s experience.

“He’s their heartbeat,” Davis said. “He’s been out there a long time, and as long as he stays out there, West is going to be a good basketball team.”

SOUTH ROWAN (64) — Honeycutt 15, Wolford 13, Doby 12, Davis 10, Morgan 8, Charles 3, Hagerty 3, Morrison, Caldwell, Shaver.

WEST ROWAN (73) — Martin 20, Carpenter 17, K. Sherrill 11, Parks 8, Browning 4, W. Sherrill 3, Smith 3, Kimbrough 2, Bradshaw 2, Stricklin 2, Charleston 1, Lyerly.

S. Rowan 18 16 11 19 — 64

W. Rowan 17 20 16 20 — 73

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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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