Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 49, Statesvile 46

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2006

By Ronnie Gallagher

Salisbury Post

STATESVILLE — The West Rowan boys are a young group so you expect them to make mistakes.

The West boys also have a senior named Jamel Carpenter.

So you expect them to prevail.

That was the theme for Tuesday night’s shaky 49-46 win in the Falcons’ North Piedmont Conference opener.

West (6-1, 1-0) seemed to dominate the game, but only a long jumper that rimmed out by Myree Rucker at the buzzer prevented an overtime. A

10-point lead at halftime, fueled by 6-foot-6 center K.J. Sherrill, and a double-digit lead in the third quarter were frittered away by bad decisions and turnovers.

Gurley gave his team a stern talking-to afterward, and he realizes it might not be the last time it happens.

“I don’t know if there’s a problem,” said Gurley after running his career mark to 311-92. “We won the game. I feel good about that. But we’re young. There’s going to be mistakes made.”

That’s where Carpenter comes in. His teammates struggled to get him the ball for much of the game but in crunch time, they were more than happy to put it in his capable hands.

The score was tied at 37 when he took over. He scored off a good feed from K.P. Parks. He hit two clutch free throws and scored on a pretty drive that gave West a 47-41 lead with 1:29 left.

It was just enough to hold off Statesville (1-8, 0-2).

“It’s about Jamel Carpenter,” nodded Gurley. “He’s the man.

“A perfect example of what Jamel is as a basketball player was at the end of the first half. He’s won MVP of this and MVP of that. He’s supposed to be the carrier of the torch after Scooter (Sherrill) and Donte (Minter) and on down the line. But what was he doing? He was diving on the floor after the basketball.

“In the locker room, I said, ‘Play like him.’ Follow him.’ ”

Zach Martin tried, hitting a 25-footer late in the game. Sherrill eventually made the winning bucket.

Gurley also pointed out that Statesville isn’t the easiest place to play.

“I know us winning in Statesville right now is something a lot of teams aren’t going to do over the next month and a half,” he said.

Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said, “This is the best game we’ve played. I’ve got a brand new team with six sophomores. What we’re trying to learn is confidence.”

The Greyhounds certainly acquired a little of that with their inspired play in the second half.

Sherrill, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half, was shut down for the most part after intermission.

“It’s a lot of fun to play Gurley,” Schofield said. “He’s animated and I’m animated. Neither one of us have voices after the game.”

But Gurley does have a win.

Thanks mostly to a senior named Carpenter.

West rowan (49) — K.J. Sherrill 18, Carpenter 14, Parks 6, Kimber 4, Martin 3, Browning 2, Kimbrough 2, Charleston, Smith, Stricklin, Lyerly, W. Sherrill, Bradshaw..

statesville (46) — Knox 8, Byers 8, Sloan 6, Dawson 6, Scott 5, Tomlin 5, Rucker 4, Schofield 2, Long 2.

W. Rowan 16 10 11 12 — 49

Statesville 10 6 19 11 — 46

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Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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