Wonders stomp South boys
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — All 24 of Josh Gray’s points were impressive, but the man for A.L. Brown on Thursday night was Justin McCauley.
McCauley kept balls alive, yanked down 10 boards, defended like it was his last night on the planet and passed up 10-footers to get his teammates uncontested layups.
“The last two weeks, McCauley’s made a difference for us,” A.L. Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz. “He’s so active, jumps so quick.”
McCauley’s unselfishness and desire keyed the Wonders’ 78-55 non-conference victory over visiting South Rowan on Thursday.
A.L. Brown’s lead was only 30-28 at halftime, but the Wonders decided things with a blistering 13-0 run to begin the second half.
“They did a good job in transition, but we helped them by not getting back,” South coach John Davis said. “We looked like a team that plays hard when it’s making shots and stops playing hard when it’s not making them.”
A.L. Brown (8-2) seemed to have numbers on every swift trip down the floor in the second half, and it has players such as Gray, Jamill Lott and Billy Simiton who look ordinary in halfcourt sets, but turn into world-beaters when they can fly in transition.
“They didn’t miss many shots in the second half,” Davis said. “When they did miss one, they had lots of guys there fighting for rebounds. We looked like Custer at the last stand. Most of the time, there were just too many Indians.”
David Wolford hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points to lead the Raiders (5-5), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Wesley Honeycutt, who has been on fire, was held to 10 points. McCauley was the guy who stayed in Honeycutt’s jersey.
“I’d watched film of him and could see he’s a great shooter,” McCauley said. “I tried to pressure him and make him put the ball on the floor. If he passed it, I tried hard to deny and not let him get it back. My goal was to frustrate him.”
Honeycutt, who has had games of 32, 30 and 29 points this season, attempted only three shots in the second half.
South couldn’t find enough scoring elsewhere. Bo Caldwell, who’s been on a tear of his own, had eight points. Derek Davis hit two 3-pointers but was held to seven points.
The Wonders, who have won five in a row, shot nearly 50 percent for the game and checked in at 60 percent during their terrific third quarter.
A.L. Brown began its decisive run with three points by humongous J.D. Davidson, a 3-pointer by Jonathan Efird, drives by McCauley and Gray and a 3-pointer by Lott.
“We may have surprised South some with our pressure to start the second half,” Klutz said. “The guys played well. This whole season has been a very pleasant surprise.”
The most pleasant surprise has been the 6-foot- 3 McCauley, who sat on the end of the bench last season.
“My legs felt good, like I could jump out of the gym,” he said. “At times, it was like I was the only one jumping.”
South ROWAN (55) — Wolford 11, Honeycutt 10, Caldwell 8, Davis 7, Morgan 7, Morrison 6, Doby 2, Hagerty 2, Bettis 2, Charles, Daugherty, Shaver.
A.L. BROWN (78) — Gray 24, Davidson 11, Efird 8, Lott 8, Simiton 7, McCauley 6, Yates 4, Newman 4, Jones 3, Gillion 3.
S. Rowan 14 14 12 15 — 55
A.L. Brown 17 13 22 26 — 78
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.