Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 59, Mooresville 53

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2007

By Ronnie Gallagher

Salisbury Post

MOUNT ULLA — Somebody had to step up.

Simple as that.

West Rowan’s boys basketball team came out of the locker room at halftime tied with Mooresville at 23, Jamel Carpenter was nailed to the bench with three fouls and coach Mike Gurley was looking for a leader.

Step up to the podium, Kaleb Kimber.

Kimber, a sophomore playing his first season at West after moving to the district from Salisbury, decided to take matters into his own hands. He scored the third quarter’s first nine points, finishing with a career-high 19 in a 59-53 win over the Blue Devils.

Gurley didn’t have just one “Special K” on the roster. He had two as K.J. Sherrill manhandled Mooresville inside with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. It helped West (10-2, 3-0) remain in first place in the North Piedmont Conference.

And while Gurley always expects those numbers from Sherrill, he was downright giddy over Kimber.

We’ve been waiting for that from Kaleb,” Gurley nodded.

His teammates obviously were just as giddy. They joked and gave him some pats on the back as he was being interviewed by a reporter afterward.

They all knew who the Tuesday Night Hero was.

In the first 3 minutes, 12 seconds of the second half, Kimber hit a 15-footer, then put back a rebound. He drilled a 3-pointer and followed that with two free throws.

“I was just trying to pick up the team since Jamel had three fouls,” Kimber said. “I started feeling it.”

When Sherrill took a feed from Chris Smith and scored, it was suddenly a 34-23 lead.

Kimber scored again before the third quarter was over for 11 of the team’s 16 points. Sherrill had the other five.

While Mooresville did close the gap on several occasions, the burst by the Special Ks was the deciding factor.

Mooresville coach Michael Micklow said, “I thought we did a good job on Carpenter, but K.J. came to play tonight. He was the difference. And (Kimber) hit a big 3. That’s a good ballteam.”

The most amazing thing is Carpenter didn’t play until the fourth quarter.

“We knew we’d need him down the stretch,” said Gurley.”So we were going as long as we could without him.”

What pleased Gurley was the defense set up the offense.

“Think about it,” he said. “We had two freshmen (Smith and K.P. Parks), two sophomores (Kimber and K.J.Sherrill) and somebody who hasn’t played basketball until this year (Willie Sherrill) and they fought like a pack of wild dogs.”

Carpenter joined Kimber and Sherrill by scoring early in the fourth for a 46-35 lead. But the Blue Devils were resilient, never giving up and pulling to within one. But the young Falcons hit their free throws, finishing 18-of-22 for the game. They were 12-of-15 from the line in final period.

“They are coming up with creative and unique ways to win ballgames, that’s for sure.” Gurley said.

Maybe it’s coming together.

“We’re growing up,” summed up Kimber.

Mooresville (53) — Maynard 12, Huntley 12, Leach 10, Henley 5, Johnson 4, Sutton 4, Mercer 4, Patterson 2, Millsaps, Parker, Mayes.

west rowan (59) — K.J. Sherrill 23, Kimber 19, Carpenter 8, Parks 4, Martin 2, W. Sherrill 2, Smith 1, Charleston, Browning, Kimbrough, Stricklin, Bradshaw, Lyerly.

Mooresville 12 11 12 18 — 53

W. Rowan 13 10 16 20 — 59

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

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