'Every game is important': Northwest Cabarrus' boys look to playoffs while the girls try to find their way out of a losing streak

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

By Bill Kiser

Kannapolis Citizen

Northwest Cabarrus’ boys basketball coach Daniel Jenkins doesn’t have to remind his players about the importance of the Trojans’ remaining regular-season games.

To Jenkins, they are all important, especially if Northwest hopes for a high seed in the North Piedmont Conference tournament and the state 3A playoffs.

The Trojans have four regular-season games remaining, beginning with a home game Tuesday night against West Rowan.

After that, Northwest travels to China Grove to face Carson on Friday night, then closes out the season next week with a pair of home games — against North Iredell on Feb. 6 and West Iredell on Feb. 9.

The Trojans’ boys (14-6, 6-4) find themselves on the bubble in the NPC standings after splitting its games last week.

Northwest — missing starters Roy Allison and Ryen Black, and key reserve Akeem

Dixon due to disciplinary reasons — was pounded by Lake Norman 90-66 on Jan. 23, the Trojans’ third loss in their last four games.

But NWC bounced back three days later, cruising to a 14-point lead in the first quarter against Mooresville en route to a 74-51 victory on Jan. 26.

The split leaves the Trojans in fourth place in the conference standings, behind West Rowan (10-0), Lake Norman (8-2) and West Iredell (7-3). With only five of the league’s eight teams earning berths in the state playoffs, Northwest needs wins in three of its last four games to lock up fourth and assure themselves a playoff spot.

“Every game is important for us now, every game,” Jenkins said. “We’re not where we want to be, but all you can do is play the games and not worry about what happened in the past.”

The Trojans have split their first-half games against their remaining opponents, losing to West Rowan (67-63) and West Iredell (67-54), while beating Carson (95-66) and North Iredell (64-58).

“We’ve got to worry about what’s ahead of us,” Jenkins said. “We can’t worry about what’s now behind us. All we can do is have a few good days of practice, and let that momentum carry over into the games.

“What we want to do right now is keep playing hard. … Who knows what the last few games hold for us?”

Northwest Cabarrus’ girls, on the other hand, are trying to dig their way out of a hole and get some momentum going before the North Piedmont Conference tournament begins in two weeks.

The Trojans (9-11, 3-7) saw their losing streak extended to four games with a 68-47 loss at the hands on Lake Norman on Jan. 23.

However, Northwest also saw that losing streak come to an end on Jan. 26 with a 70-24 win over Mooresville.

That was the Trojans’ first win since former A.L. Brown varsity boys assistant Moses Smith was named Northwest’s head coach two weeks ago.

The split leaves Northwest Cabarrus in sixth place in the NPC standings, just two games behind fifth-place West Rowan with four games remaining.