Prep hoops: Statesville boys 69, East 64
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan’s boys had enough talent to build a 19-point lead against Statesville but not enough experience to hold it.
The Greyhounds rallied furiously to beat the Mustangs 69-64 in an NPC opener.Jordan Moore led East (1-1) with 13 points. Dominique Imes scored 17 for Statesville (1-0), and Darrell Epps had 14 of his 16 in the fourth quarter.
The turnover had all but disappeared from East stat sheets in recent years, but the Mustangs have to use a committee approach this season. That committee will have growing pains, and East threw the ball away 34 times Tuesday.”I’m not mad and I’m not upset because we played hard and did good things to get that lead,” East coach Greg McKenzie said. “It was just one of those momentum shifts. Hats off to Statesville. They found something we had trouble with, and it was like a football team running off-tackle to the right 28 times in a row if you can stop it.”
What East had trouble with, in a word, was pressure. Once the Greyhounds got rolling, they didn’t stop.
“I was proud of our guys,” Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said. “Nine of them just came in off the football field, and we’ve been having six or seven at practice with no five-on-five stuff, so we were very rusty. But our defensive pressure held strong, and in the fourth quarter we found some leadership I didn’t know we had.”
Statesville made only five field goals in the first half and trailed 33-21.
East didn’t make a 3-pointer, but it was getting point-blank looks in the paint and solid jumpers from Phillip Ajayi as it held its own on the boards.
Statesville’s offense got going after halftime, but Moore was scoring with power moves for East. The Mustangs led by 19 points early in the third and were still ahead 55-40 at the end of the quarter.
“You could tell the East guys had been in the gym and knew what they were doing,” Schofield said. “But then we made a few confidence-builder shots and got on a run.”
East still led 62-55 when Daniel Plummer, its most experienced player, fouled out with 3:35 left. Things unraveled in a hurry after that.
“They were making us dribble too much, and we just kept turning it over,” Moore said.
Statesville tied the score on a layup by Imes with 1:52 left and grabbed the lead on Epps’ free throw with 59 seconds left.
A steal and layup by Epps put the Hounds up by three, and Tevin Carr followed with two clutch free throws.
STATESVILLE (69) ó Imes 17, Epps 16, Nichols 8, Carr 8, Darty 6, McCombs 5, Lackey 3, Harris 2, Edwards 2, King 2, Mott, Feimster.
EAST ROWAN (64) ó Moore 15, McKenzie 12, Ajayi 10, Grohman 9, Weber 6, Allen 6, Plummer 4, Honeycutt 2, Slater, Morton.Statesville 13 8 19 29 ó 69
E. Rowan 17 16 22 9 ó 64