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Prep Basketball: NWC boys 79, West Rowan 59

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — The Northwest Cabarrus Trojans weren’t awed by NPC leader West Rowan’s 10-game winning streak.

The Trojans, who fell by four points in Mount Ulla on Jan. 10, crushed the Falcons 79-58 in “The Pit” on Tuesday night. Brien Garcia, who missed the first meeting with an ankle injury, was instrumental. He shot 8-for-12 from the field and led the Trojans with 18 points.

Eighth-ranked West (18-3, 10-1) fell behind 13-1 in the opening minutes and never got all the way back.

“We played out-of-control fast at times and just stood around at other times,” West coach Mike Gurley analyzed. “We never found the perfect speed. On the other hand, Northwest played at their perfect speed all night. They were on their game. Props to them on a great win.”

Northwest’s 6-foot-7 Roy Allison had 15 points and five blocks, and Ryen Black scored 12 of his 14 points during a third-quarter explosion that guaranteed West’s first NPC loss.

“We got off to a rough start, they were hitting everything, and they just had more scorers than we did,” said West senior Jamel Carpenter, who fought virtually alone at times and scored 24 points. “They had a guy (Black) come off the bench that was scoring.”

Carpenter’s running mates had a tough night. Freshman guard K.P. Parks scored 11 points but struggled to finish his patented, down-the lane scoops and went 2-for-7 from the foul line. A foul-plagued K.J. Sherrill made one field goal and was never a factor. Greg Kimber, who can score in bunches, never got anything going.

It was unusual to see West’s big guns seated glumly on the bench at the finish of a key NPC game, but by the end of the third quarter, it was time to start thinking about Friday’s trip to Lake Norman.

“You know, we had an absolutely terrible practice Monday,” Northwest coach Daniel Jenkins said. “I knew West would come in here ready for us, and I just hoped that our guys would be ready too.”

The Trojans were as ready as they’ll ever be. Austin Wright drilled a 3-pointer to open the game.

Northwest

(15-6, 7-4) led 26-11 after a quarter, but then West made its move. After Carpenter fired in four 3s in the second quarter, the Falcons trailed just 41-35.

“I could see in my guys’ faces at halftime that they were almost ready to give in to Carpenter — he was that good,” Jenkins said. “I reminded them he’s the conference player of the year for a reason.”

Carpenter scored nine of his team’s 11 points in the third quarter, but Falcons not named Jamel shot 1-for-11, and West got blown away.

A pull-up jumper by Carpenter made it 47-37, but then Black went crazy. He had four straight buckets, twisting in for one stickback after another to bump the lead to 55-39.

Northwest closed a third quarter in which it shot 75 percent with a driving scoop by Jon Hathcock. Then the Trojans opened the fourth quarter with a layup by Garcia for a 21-point lead, and Gurley knew it was over.

“We just kept working at rebounding and defending,” Jenkins said. “Rebounding was the biggest thing because they pounded us on the boards the first time. Sherrill is an incredible rebounder, but he got early fouls and Allison was able to pull him out some from underneath. Roy was tremendous for us.”

Gurley has known for a while this would be the toughest stretch of the season for his young team. Four straight road games, with the last three at NPC contenders West Iredell, Northwest and Lake Norman.

“We’ve gone from being the hunters to the hunted and people enjoy it and celebrate when they beat us,” Gurley said. “But we wouldn’t have it any other way. When we get up tomorrow, we’ll be a first-place team that knows it’s still got a lot of work to do.”

west rowan (58) — Carpenter 24, Parks 11, Martin 6, K.Sherrill 5, Smith 4, Kimbrough 4, Browning 2, W.Sherrill 2, Kimber, Stricklin, Bradshaw, Charleston, Lyerly.

Nw cabarrus (79) — Garcia 18, Allison 15, Black 14, Wright 10, Quigley 8, Dixon 7, Hathcock 6, Walker 1, West, Brown, Hoopingarner.

W. Rowan 11 24 11 12 — 58

NWC 26 15 24 14 — 79

*

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

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