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Moir Classic: 3rd Place game: West Rowan boys 68, Davie 51

By David Shaw

Salisbury Post

West Rowan’s boys basketball team made the most of a less-than-perfect situation Friday.

The Falcons placed five scorers in double figures and salvaged third place in the Moir Classic with a 68-51 consolation-game win over Davie County.

“No, it’s not the game we wanted to be in,” coach Mike Gurley said. “We’d much rather be playing East for the championship. But for what we’re trying to achieve, this was just what the doctor ordered. We learned a lot about growing up and staying focused and treating every play as a valuable possession.”

The victory was particularly sweet for West senior Jamel Carpenter, who nearly turned his last waltz around Goodman Gym into a spotlight dance. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 10 first-half points, grabbed eight rebounds and added seven assists as the Falcons (9-2) erased some of the stain from Thursday’s semifinal loss to Salisbury.

“I’m proud of the boys,” Carpenter said. “We all know where we wanted to be, but it didn’t happen like that. Still, third place isn’t bad.”

Davie coach Mike Absher said Carpenter’s performance made a difference.

“He’s such a natural leader,” he said after Davie

(5-9) dropped its second straight. “He’s constantly talking out there, constantly making plays.”

It was Carpenter who scored off the opening tipoff on a tone-setting layup. And Carpenter who floated down the lane for a lay-in a minute later, helping West race to a 19-2 lead in the first seven minutes.

“Last night against Salisbury, they reeled us in and knocked us out,” said Gurley. “We weren’t gonna let that happen again.”

Davie was paced by sophomore guard Drew Absher, who shot 7-for-14 from the floor, converted three 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points. Teammate James Mayfield hit a turnaround jumper from close range to pull the War Eagles within

41-36 with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter. But the Falcons cracked the game open with a 12-0 run to close the period.

“When you get back in it against a team like West, you’ve got to hang on,” Mike Absher said. “But we didn’t. It went to 10 and then to 17. That made it tough.”

West led by as much as 61-41 when Clay Browning sank a pair of free throws midway through the fourth quarter. K.J. Sherrill, Kaleb Kimber and Chris Smith each added 10 points for the Falcons. But if this game belonged to anyone, it was Carpenter.

“He’s just a winner,” said Gurley. “Before the game he told everyone in the locker room, ‘I don’t care if it’s the third-place game. We’re West Rowan and as long as we’re putting this uniform on, we’re gonna play hard.’ And that was it. I didn’t have to say anything.”

Davie (51) — Absher 17, Hall 10, Vanhoy 6, Lowery 6, Mayfield 5, Redmon 3, Holcomb 2, Williams 2, Dismuke, Cope, Miller.

west rowan (68) — Carpenter 10, K.J. Sherrill 10, Parks 10, Kimber 10, Smith 10, Martin 9, W. Sherrill 4, Browning 2, Bradshaw 2, Lyerly 1, Ellis, Charleston, Kimbrough, Strickin.

Davie 6 17 13 15 — 51

W. Rowan 19 18 16 15 — 68

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Contact David Shaw at sports@salisburypost.com.

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