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Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 96, Statesville 68

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

MOUNT ULLA — Freshman guard K.P. Parks dribbled full-tilt up the floor late in the first half of West Rowan’s 96-68 win against Statesville.

Jamel Carpenter, who had already reached the baseline, was screaming so loudly for the ball that even the security guards knew he was open.

But it was a case of supreme unselfishness, not selfishness, on Carpenter’s part. Like a chess grandmaster, the veteran was thinking a move ahead. Out of the corner of his eye, he had spotted 3-point specialist Zack Martin arriving on the left wing.

“Oh yeah, I had the layup, had the two points,” Carpenter explained. “But I had confidence that Zack was gonna get us three.”

Parks made his pass. Carpenter caught it and flicked his own pass out to Martin in the same motion. Carpenter was punching the air with a celebrating fist even before Martin’s shot swished.

That 3-pointer was the last straw for Statesville, which trailed 43-20 at halftime and took an NPC beating from the first-place Falcons.

“That play was unselfish on Jamel’s part,” Martin said. “But that’s why he’s a real team leader. He could’ve gone up. Instead he made the extra pass.”

West (16-2, 9-0) made lots of extra passes in ripping the Greyhounds (3-15, 1-8).

West Rowan’s previous season high for points was 77 against West Iredell. This time, Falcon fans were pleading for 100 in the final minute.

Carpenter finished with 22 points. Parks had 20. K.J. Sherrill went 1-for-2 on dunks but went 8-for-8 from the foul line and accumulated 12 points and 12 rebounds. Kaleb Kimber chipped in with 10 points, and Martin hit three 3-pointers.

Eight different Falcons scored in a 30-point second quarter. Ten got into the act in a 31-point fourth quarter.

“We had a few defensive lulls,” West coach Mike Gurley said, “but the focus was there, the effort was there, the unselfishness was there.”

West Rowan trailed 7-6, but a 3-pointer by Martin triggered an 11-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters.

West got a lift from Chris Smith’s youthful energy. By halftime, it was clear the Falcons were going to have an easy night and that Carpenter, who didn’t play to his high standard for a week or two, had rediscovered his magic. He scored 25 points Friday to end a string of average games.

“Jamel’s shots weren’t dropping for a while, but he got himself out of it by playing hard, and now he’s back in a comfort zone,” Gurley said. “Jamel has high expectations for himself, but what he’s learned is that this team has lots of solid guys and he doesn’t have to carry it. He just has to play with this team.”

Carpenter clearly had his mojo back when he calmly measured a 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer, then faded a bit to loft the ball over a contesting arm. He drained the shot for a 65-46 lead.

Statesville coach Sonny Schofield grew exasperated with his starters and started his second unit in the second half. He watched his guys put up 48 points in the last 16 minutes, but West answered with 53.

“Inconsistency has been our plague, and sometimes our second group plays better than the first group,” Schofield said. “Tonight, the first group wasn’t focused, wasn’t playing together and was giving up way too many points.

“West was feeling it tonight, but in the second half our second group played well.”

STATESVILLE (68) — Scott 15, Harris 13, Sloan 10, Epps 9, Dawson 7, Byers 7, Knox 3, Tomlia 2, Steele 2, Schofield, Rucker.

WEST ROWAN (96) — Carpenter 22, Parks 20, K. Sherrill 12, Kimber 10, Martin 9, W. Sherrill 6, Browning 5, Kimbrough 4, Smith 4, Stricklin 2, Bradshaw 2, Charleston, Lyerly.

Statesville 7 13 26 22 — 68

W. Rowan 13 30 22 31 — 96

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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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