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Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 73, Carson 60: West clinches NPC title

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan’s boys locked up a 20-win season and their eighth regular-season league crown in coach Mike Gurley’s 10 seasons on Tuesday night.

Banners and victories aren’t unusual in Mount Ulla, but West’s 73-60 NPC victory over Carson included odd happenings that weren’t traditional.

The standard scoreboards weren’t functioning, the scorebooks didn’t agree on a critical foul, and the first-year Cougars, who could be a handful next season, pummeled West in stretches of both halves.

The only visible tally was kept on a tiny, old-school scoreboard perched on the scorer’s table. Carson coach Brian Perry strolled down the sideline every few minutes to check on time and score, and fans dashed out of the stands periodically to view the totals and shout updates back to their neighbors.

“The clock thing was kind of awkward,” said West star Jamel Carpenter, who had eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. “But you go with what you’ve got to go with, and it was still a good conference win.

“Hey, Carson’s not bad.”

Justin Basinger, who played for West last year, led the Cougars’ upset bid with 20 points.

Carson (2-20, 1-12) buried four of its 10 3-pointers in the opening minutes — two each by Basinger and Brandon Ferguson. When Josh Doby connected on a floater, Carson led 14-4, and West fans were forced to take the Cougars seriously.

“The Carson Cougars didn’t make no runs earlier in the season,” Perry said proudly. “Now we’re beginning to make them, and those runs will keep you in games and give you chances to win games.”

Basinger and Doby were playing their fifth games for the Cougars. When those two became active, Perry’s firepower boomed dramatically. Basinger hit four 3s. Doby scored eight points in the fourth quarter.

West (20-3, 12-1) stabilized in the middle of the first quarter after seniors Zack Martin, Maurice Lyerly and Wille Sherrill jumped off the bench.

It was 22-22 early in the second when the Falcons enjoyed a run of their own. Lyerly’s layup off a nice dish by Carpenter ignited a 13-2 spree that gave West control. The Falcons led 42-28 at halftime, and the excitement appeared to be over.

Instead, it was just beginning.

West didn’t score during the first four minutes of the second half — Martin finally ended that drought with a 3-pointer — and Carson pulled within 51-44 by the end of the third quarter.

When Doby scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, West’s lead was reduced to two points, and a packed gym was buzzing.

The turning point came when a foul was called on Ferguson. He wasn’t having a big night, but he’d just hit a 3-pointer to bring Carson within 55-52 when a whistle blew. Carson had him with four fouls; West’s scorebook had him with five. The home book took precedence, and Ferguson was done.

“That was big, just emotionally big for our guys,” Perry said. “Coming when it did, that was a tough one to take right in the heat of a big run.”

Carson’s second run stunned everyone and perplexed Gurley.

“Their run at the start — that’s just the feeling-out period, and it happens,” he said. “But the second one, they did a good job of attacking our defense, and we don’t have much time to work on things. We’ve got 13 days until we’re playing do-or-die in the sectionals on a Monday night.”

K.J. Sherrill ruled the boards when West needed him most and rejected five fourth-quarter shots. Freshman point guard K.P. Parks produced eight key points down the stretch.

“We just weren’t there mentally like we needed to be,” Willie Sherrill said. “But K.J. got going, and that opened things up for a lot of people.”

Carson (60) — Basinger 20, Moose 11, Doby 10, Ferguson 9, Hutchinson 4, Ferrare 3, Fontenot 2, Craft 1, Kosinski, Yates.

west rowan (73) — Carpenter 17, Parks 13, Martin 9, W. Sherrill 9, K. Sherrill 8, Smith 5, Kimber 5, Charleston 3, Lyerly 2, Browning 2, Stricklin, Bradshaw.

Carson 19 9 16 16 — 60

W. Rowan 17 25 9 22 — 73


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


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