Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 68, Salisbury 36
After five minutes, everyone knew West Rowan’s boys were headed to a payback victory.
The only remaining questions were whether Salisbury would manage to score and whether anyone would get off a shot that West sophomore K.J. Sherrill didn’t swat.
West, the road team, scored the first 16 points of Wednesday’s non-conference game, mauled the Hornets 68-36 and avenged a bitter loss in the semifinals of the Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
The Falcons (17-2) led 56-14 midway through the third quarter over the CCC co-leaders when coach Mike Gurley called off the dogs and started resting his troops for Friday’s key NPC trip to West Iredell.
“We had a little more to play for than they did,” Gurley said. “We were playing a team that was in the Christmas tournament finals and wanted to show we were worthy of being in that championship game.
“Basically, we just wanted to play 32 minutes as hard as the 32 Salisbury played when they beat us.”
Jamel Carpenter (18 points) and ex-Hornet Kaleb Kimber (15) couldn’t miss in the early going, and Sherrill thoroughly dominated the lane and both backboards.
“We just came out hot, and Salisbury wasn’t making shots they normally make,” Carpenter said. “Kimber was running the floor and making shots, and K.J. was just blocking everything.”
Sherrill had double-digit blocks and rebounds. His second — and last — field goal was a monstrous dunk he powered home in the third quarter for a 38-point lead. That slam sent West’s starters to the pine and propelled a section of the stunned crowd to the exits.
“It was good to get a dunk, and I was just gonna go after everything, try to block every shot,” Sherrill said. “They beat us, so we needed to beat them.”
Defensively, West limited Salisbury’s big guns, Joe Allen and Doug Campbell, seniors with over 800 points apiece to their credit, to two points each.
Ibn Ali came off the bench and scored 15 for the Hornets and did his best to keep things from getting completely out of hand.
Carpenter got a layup off the opening tip, Kimber scored five quick points, and then Carpenter confidently drilled a 3-pointer for a 10-0 lead.
Salisbury coach Jason Causby called his first timeout at that juncture, but things didn’t improve. After a driving three-point play by K.P. Parks and another 3-ball by Carpenter, it was 16-0.
Campbell’s bucket on an offensive rebound with 3:46 left in the first quarter finally put the Hornets on the board.
“I’d love to say I coached the boys up and we made a statement,” Gurley said. “But I think what happened is we got up on them 16-0, and then we all got extremely excited to be playing so well.”
It was 23-6 after a quarter, 43-10 at halftime and 60-17 after three quarters. West’s biggest lead was 60-14 — 46 points — late in the third.
Salisbury had a late 11-0 run — credit bench guys such as Gordon Witte (seven fourth-quarter boards), Demetrius Almond, Jesse Gibbs, Jay Duke and Terrell Allison with not giving up — to trim the final margin.
“The way those guys played on a night when our so-called stars didn’t do well, was a positive,” Causby said. “Those kids were in a tough situation, and I thought they gave us a gutty performance.”
Salisbury won a huge CCC game Tuesday against Lexington but couldn’t build on it.
“West smacked us in the mouth, jumped on us 16-0, and we didn’t respond,” Causby said. “We had no fire right from the start, and West was on top of its game. They had a point to prove.”
west rowan (68) — Carpenter 18, Kimber 15, Parks 9, Smith 9, Sherrill 6, Martin 3, W. Sherrill 2, Lyerly 2, Stricklin 2, Kimbrough 2, Browning, Charleston.
salisbury (36) — Ali 15, Gibbs 4, Witte 3, Abel 2, Allen 2, Campbell 2, Duke 2, Almond 2, Rose 2, Phifer 2, Williams, Allison, White.
W. Rowan 23 20 17 8 — 68
Salisbury 6 4 7 19 — 36
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.