Prep Basketball Notebook

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2006

From staff reports

The prep basketball notebook …

West Rowan senior Jamel Carpenter did what Jamel Carpenter’s supposed to do last week when he hit a game-winning shot against East Rowan with three seconds remaining.

The reigning county player of the year, Carpenter is West’s go-to guy. He’s averaging a not-so-superstar 14.5 points per game, but Carpenter’s worth, West coach Mike Gurley said, can’t be measured just by his scoring. After West defeated East 76-74 on Carpenter’s shot, Gurley used West’s victory against Salisbury as an example of his star’s versatility.

“He had six points, and I thought he played one of the best games he’s ever played at West Rowan,” Gurley said. “His role on this team is not gonna be the man. He’s gotta be able to fill the gaps wherever we need it. The other night against Salisbury he filled the gaps with rebounding, making passes and getting K.J. (Sherrill) involved.

“And tonight, when the game was on the line, he filled a really big gap with a heck of a fadeaway jumper.”


WALKING WOUNDED: A Post story on Tuesday said Brooke Taylor had a buckle break in her left wrist.

“That’s what the doctor called it,” was coach Bob Blake’s explanation.

Blake’s leading scorer can actually still play. Taylor’s wearing a soft cast and can still shoot, but it is very difficult to catch the ball. She has extensive swelling around the thumb.

At practice Wednesday, Taylor was wearing her cast and Peyton Sawyer was wearing an ice pack on her neck and shoulder.

“It made for an interesting practice,” Blake said.

Especially during a 3-on-2 drill.

“Brooke and Peyton were on defense and I told the girls, ‘If you don’t score on those two, we’re going to run,’ ” chuckled Blake.

Taylor was injured in the third quarter of West’s 60-52 loss at North Rowan. After making a steal, she crashed to the floor along with Shemieka Brown, who was trying to block Taylor’s layup.

Taylor got up after a few minutes, shaking her wrist and missed her two free throws.

But she made two more third-quarter field goals following the injury and scored seven of her 23 points in the fourth quarter and appeared to be OK.


FOSTER CHILD: Erin Foster is known more for her work as West’s softball center fielder, but she bounced back from a rough outing at North Rowan to hit the biggest shot of an overtime win at East Rowan.

There are good genes in the Foster family. Wanda Foster, Erin’s aunt, was a three-time, first-team all-county player and Rowan County Player of the Year in 1983.


Spenser Davis wears No. 11. Justin Vanderford wears No. 1.

In East’s loss at West, the Mustang coaches were fairly certain Davis somehow got one of Vanderford’s fouls, and the Mustangs paid for it.

Davis fouled out with 7:23 remaining. When he picked up his third foul, East thought he had two. When he picked up what they thought was his third, they realized that both scoring books had Davis with four.

“That’s happened to Spenser three times in the past two years,” McKenzie said. “Maybe it’s something with the numbers. I feel bad for Spenser because he drives a lot and for whatever reason, a lot of time he doesn’t ever get any calls. Then if that happens to him, he gets an extra foul on the other end. So he is doubly frustrated.

“But that did hurt. We definitely needed Spenser.”


RALLY: Davis, East’s point guard, had a rare occurrence Tuesday night when the Mustangs split their regular-season series with West with a 67-54 victory.

In the third quarter, Davis chased down Taylor Stricklin from behind, leaped and swatted his shot out of bounds to the delight of the East Rowan fans. Davis reacted with shock when referees called a foul, but the Mustangs clearly didn’t mind.

“That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Davis said.


Two post players posted double-doubles for North Rowan’s girls in a victory against Lexington on Tuesday, but interior threat Shavonna Casey missed the game.

Casey, who averaged 7.0 points in North’s first six contests, had fluid drained from one of her knees Monday. Head coach Mike White planned for Casey to practice Wednesday and said she’d be available for Friday’s game against Ledford.


TWIN TOWERS: Without Casey, the Cavaliers still finished their game against Lexington with a large advantage in offensive rebounds thanks to the efforts of Sierra Ingram and Daquondra Cuthbertson.

Cuthbertson, who scored 50 points last season, has 38 through seven games this season. She’s reached double figures in two straight games.

“She’s got more confidence,” White said. “She’s taking the ball to the rim and finishing more. I know she missed a few, but it’s not like last year when she might miss a couple and get down on herself. She’s got that confidence, and she’s one of the players that’s going to help us out in the long run.”


NORTH BOYS: Freshman post player Winslow Cherry started for North Rowan’s boys against Lexington and finished with nine points. Only fellow forward Daniel Griffith, who had 13 points, scored more for North.

Cherry made his varsity debut last Friday against West Rowan after shining for coach Gary Atwell’s jayvee boys.

“We kind of threw him to the wolves playing him against West Rowan,” North coach Kelly Everhart said. “I felt like if he’s a freshman that could step in and handle that pressure, then he’d certainly be able to handle the pressure in our conference. He’s going to help us.”


Salisbury’s girls are 4-2 and are unlikely to get the top seed for the Christmas tournament — seeds are based strictly on records, not polls, past history or public opinion — but they’ll still be the favorite to take home an unprecedented fourth straight title.

Salisbury’s girls won their third straight crown last year to match runs by Salisbury’s boys (1979-81) and West’s boys (1992-94).


LEARNING CURVE: If there is such a thing as a good loss, the Hornet girls experienced one on Tuesday when they fell 49-47 on the road at East Davidson.

East Davidson is 8-0 for a reason and had beaten Thomasville and embarrassed some pretty good teams by 30 or more points. The Hornets won’t be up against anyone better than East Davidson sophomore Anna Freeman all season.

With Jennifer Shoaf, Doug Faison and Osborne Fields guiding them, the young Hornets are only going to get better and better and are destined for another 25-win campaign.

The most improved Hornet might be De’Rya Wylie, who responded with a career-best 15 points in a pressure cooker at East Davidson. Kwameshia Hicks looks comfortable taking on the role of go-to scorer, while Shi-Heria Shipp is emerging as a tall, athletic floor general. Shanae Knox doesn’t get a lot of credit and isn’t as athletic as some of her teammates, but she’s an impressive rebounder.


MY BAD: Salisbury senior Doug Campbell has long been one of the county’s best and classiest players, but accidents happen.

Campbell tagged an East Davidson player with an unintentional shot to the face that sent the Golden Eagle to the floor for several minutes in Tuesday’s 73-43 Hornet romp.

Campbell, who had been taking an innocent swipe at the ball, immediately ran to the downed player to express his apologies, and East Davidson coach John Cherry gave Campbell a tap on the rump to let him know he knew the blow wasn’t on purpose.


South students yelled “Bo, Bo, Bo!” all night long during Monday’s 85-65 revenge win over Mooresville’s boys.

Bo Caldwell, getting his first start, seemed to get a steal in South’s press and lead a pell-mell rush down the floor every 30 seconds.

“Our crowd was getting excited because they wanted to see me dunk,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell had one chance ahead of the pack, but he jumped high and gently dropped the ball in at the rim.

“I promised our students a dunk, and I’m going to give them one,” Caldwell said cheerfully. “It just didn’t work out for me tonight.”

South coach John Davis said Caldwell’s play has been a pleasant surprise.

“Bo’s a kid who really excels in the classroom,” he said. “Now it’s carrying over to the basketball court.”


DUEL: Mooresville’s student cheering section did a better job of competing with the Raiders than its basketball team during the boys game.

When South’s students chanted, “This is boring” and “Sure is quiet,” during the fourth quarter of the Raiders’ blowout win, Blue Devils fans responded quickly with ‘What about last week?” in reference to Mooresville 79-70 win on its home floor.

When South’s students retorted, logically enough, with, “What about now?” Mooresville fans resorted to an old stand-by — “What about football?”


BOY SCOUTS: Checking in on the South-Mooresville boys game was West Rowan coach Mike Gurley, who was taking notes on the Blue Devils, one of his NPC foes.

Also on hand were Davie’s Drew Absher and several teammates. They were preparing for Friday’s big CPC game at South.


LOOKING AHEAD: South girls coach Jim Brooks said the Raiders are really playing two different conference schedules this year.

South’s still competing in the CPC with East, North Davidson, Davie and the Winston-Salem schools, but it’s also giving a lot of attention to its games against NPC teams because the Raiders are moving down to that 3A league next season.

South has played the NPC’s Carson, West Rowan and Mooresville and scrimmaged Lake Norman, another NPC squad.


The Wonder boys really needed a 68-64 comeback win over Robinson that broke a two-game losing streak. Josh Gray scored 24 points in that game.

The Wonders used Robinson as a springboard to another comeback victory (59-55 over Sun Valley) in Tuesday’s SPC opener.


THINNER: Aggressive Kenneth Yates is back in action after missing time with strep throat, but the Wonders are minus two inside reserves. Josh Posey is out with tonsilitis and Greg Brown is no longer with the team.

Coach Shelwyn Klutz, now in his 11th season, is optimistic T.C. Roberson transfer Jacob Newman will make good use of expanded minutes in the post, but the Wonders are still dependent on Gray and Jonathan Efird to provide scoring punch.

Efird had a great night against Sun Valley, and Brown was able to win even with Gray being held to a eight points.


LET’S WIN: While the boys were breaking a two-game losing streak against Robinson, the girls,who got Brandie Ross back from an ACL injury, halted a three-game skid the same night.


MARLA UPDATE: Senior guard Marla Powell is averaging 17.6 points through seven games, scoring at least 20 three times.


Coach Mike Absher asked about Mooresville’s loss to South Rowan on Monday and was told Mooresville’s two best players were benched in the first quarter for missing the bus.

That’s something Absher won’t have to worry about. His son, Drew, a sophomore guard, is his leading scorer.

“You’re right, he wouldn’t miss the bus,” laughed Absher. “And if he did, his mother would jump in front of it to make sure he got on.”


THEY’RE FREE: One thing Absher isn’t laughing about is his team’s poor free-throw shooting.

In a 62-58 loss to North Iredell, the War Eagles were just 5-of-12 from the line in the final six minutes after a Matt Vanhoy shot had given Davie the lead.

Davie (4-5) was 10-of-23 for the game.


GOOD PASSING: In a three-game stretch, Eric Lowery, son of Buddy Lowery, a former North Rowan football and wrestling star, dished out a whopping 34 assists.


Fans have plenty of options Friday night with four doubleheaders in Rowan County gyms.

East Rowan plays host to Carson; Davie visits South; Lexington comes to Salisbury; and Ledford plays at North.


THE PLATT FORM: WSTP 1490-AM will broadcast Salisbury’s games. The voices you’ll hear? Howard Platt and analyst Bob Parker, a long-time South Rowan boys coach.


DON’T MISS: Last year’s 3A runner-up Concord visits Salisbury next Wednesday.

The Spiders were winning even without their state-champion football players, and now coach Andy Poplin adds Dee Bost, Lance Lewis and company to the mix. The Hornets are good, but they’ll have their hands full.


Nick Bowton, Mike London, Bret Strelow, Ronnie Gallagher, Bill Kiser and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.