Prep Basketball: East Rowan boys 70, South Rowan 58
By David Shaw
LANDIS — Don’t look for the word ‘panic’ in East Rowan’s playbook. You won’t find it.
The Mustangs spotted host South Rowan an early 14-1 lead before checking their mirrors, making a lane change and racing to a 70-58 CPC victory Tuesday night.
“Nobody panics on this team,” guard Justin Vanderford said after scoring 18 points for East (19-3, 9-2). “We have so many good offensive players. We can always come back in a hurry.”
South (8-14, 3-8) spent the opening moments serving the Mustangs a plate of their own pot roast. The Raiders penetrated the lane, whipped the ball around the perimeter and drained four 3-pointers — they finished with 11 — before the game was
five-and-a-half minutes old.
“We wanted to dictate the tempo of the game,” said SR coach John Davis. “They came out kind of hesitant. You could see it in the warmups. We thought we could jump on them early.”
He thought right. East missed its first seven shots from the field and fell 13 points behind when Michael Morgan buried a 3-ball from the left side with 2:33 remaining in the first period.
“We didn’t look good early or in the warmups,” said East’s Kurt Misenheimer, the game’s top scorer with 20 points. “But that’s how we always look. Teams misjudge us.”
It was Vanderford who provided a tourniquet and stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Teammate Travis Wilson — an instant-offense reserve — came off the bench and completed a
3-point play, then grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a putback. By the time Vanderford nailed another three as the quarter closed, East had scored 11 unanswered points and inched within 14-12.
“When I first came in, they were on fire,” said Wilson. “I knew I had to start making shots and get the team going.”
East, held scoreless for the first five minutes, took its first lead when Kenan McKenzie knocked down a three midway through the second period. By halftime the Mustangs were up 34-29, thanks to a driving layup by Trey Holmes at the buzzer.
“We were definitely hyped at the start of the game,” senior Wesley Honeycutt said after pacing the Raiders with 14 points. “And then we just fell apart. I don’t know exactly what happened.”
Misenheimer happened. The 6-foot-4 senior poured in 11 points in the third period, mostly on little 10-foot jump shots from the wings. “I wasn’t hitting threes,” he explained. “So I started pumping and faking and stepping in for short jumpers — and those were working for me.”
“We lost the shooters,” said John Davis. “With guys like Justin and Kurt out there, that’s a no-no.”
South, which trailed by as much as 64-41 early in the fourth quarter, mounted an impressive comeback attempt. Honeycutt converted three shots from beyond the arc — the last of which trimmed the deficit to 65-58 with 1:04 remaining. Down the chute East made five of six free throws to cement the outcome.
“Too little, too late,” said Honeycutt. “We tried to match them three-for-three, but we’re not a shooting team.”
NOTES: Misenheimer shot 8-for-13 from the field and yanked down eight rebounds for East. Vanderford, who scored half of his points in the decisive third quarter, was 5-for-8 from three-point range. Teammate Spenser Davis had 11 rebounds and six assists.
EAST rowan (70) — Misenheimer 20, Vanderford 18, McKenzie 10, Davis 9, Wilson 7, Ingold 2, Holmes 2, Eagle 2, Ponds, Karl, Wilhelm, Baker.
SOUTH rowan (58) — Honeycutt 14, Davis 12, Daugherty 9, Charles 7, Wolford 6, Morgan 3, Caldwell 3, Shaver 2, Haggerty 2, Morrison.
E. Rowan 12 22 26 10 — 70
S. Rowan 14 15 12 17 — 58
Contact David Shaw at email@example.com.
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