Carpenter fuels late run for Falcons

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2006

By Bret Strelow

Salisbury Post

MOUNT ULLA — Half of the fourth quarter passed without a single shot attempt from West Rowan senior Jamel Carpenter.

He changed his approach as soon as the Falcons fell behind West Iredell.

Carpenter scored a game-high 25 points to lead West Rowan to a 77-65 home victory Thursday night.

Two free throws by West Iredell’s Quan Rucker with 3:43 left gave the Warriors (6-3, 1-1 NPC) their first lead since the opening two minutes of the second quarter, but Carpenter converted a three-point play on the Falcons’ next possession. That sequence triggered a game-ending, 16-2 run that included nine points from Carpenter.

“It was time to get the ball and score buckets,” he said. “We needed some points up on the board. When the game was close in the fourth quarter, I knew what time it was.”

Carpenter attempted only two shots in the third quarter, and his only field goal enabled the Falcons (7-2, 2-0) to take a 57-50 lead into the fourth.

A basket by K.J. Sherrill (15 points, 11 rebounds) pushed the advantage to nine, and the Warriors answered with a 9-0 run. Rucker’s free throws broke the second tie, but Carpenter weaved through traffic and banked in a layup while drawing a foul 18 seconds later.

He hit a baseline jumper on West’s next possession, and Kaleb Kimber turned the putback of a Carpenter miss into a three-point play. Point guard Clay Browning then fed Carpenter for a layup that gave the Falcons a 71-65 lead with 2:07 remaining.

“They elevated the play and took the lead, but luckily we’ve got Carpenter,” West Rowan coach Mike Gurley said.

“Jamel just made some plays down the stretch, and it was fun to watch for the simple fact that we knew him when he was a young pup, ninth grade on varsity, going through a lot of tough situations as far as getting this program back to where we want it.”

West Iredell allowed an average of 42 points in its first eight games, but the Falcons held a 40-31 halftime lead.

The Warriors trailed 16-15 at halftime of a 56-44 loss at West Rowan last season but weren’t as stingy Thursday. The ball even banked into the basket closest to Kimber after his baseball pass on a fullcourt inbounds play struck a light fixture near midcourt and ricocheted back toward the same endline.

“They had us in position to really stomp us, and our guys showed a lot of character by staying in the fight,” West Iredell coach Bryan Cantrell said. “We went up by two, and when you’re on the road, you have to put yourself in position to win. When they needed the big shot, Jamel Carpenter stepped up and made the big shot.”

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NOTES: K.P. Parks scored a season-high 21 points, and reserve Willie Sherrill had five points and six boards.

WEST IREDELL (65) — Rucker 22, Clark 12, Watkins 11, Thompson 10, Stuckey 6, McLain 4, Clyburn.

WEST ROWAN (77) — Carpenter 25, Parks 21, K.Sherrill 15, W.Sherrill 5, Smith 5, Kimber 5, Browning 1, Charleston, Martin, Kimbrough, Stricklin, Lyerly, Bradshaw.

West Iredell 16 15 19 15 — 65

West Rowan 14 26 17 20 — 77

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Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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