Gallagher column: No rest for the weary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Roaming the county getting ready for basketball tonight …
After West Rowan defeated South Point in the Western final, basketball coach Mike Gurley left Chris Smith, B.J. Sherrill, Dominique Noble, Jon Crucitti and the rest of the footballers ó who would soon be hoopsters ó two instructions.
– “Go win the state championship next Saturday.”
– “Be at practice on Monday.”
You could say there is no rest for the weary, but Smith is ready. He’s still pumped up from the Falcons’ 35-7 state title romp against West Craven.
“Me and Crucitti were talking,” Smith said Monday morning. “We’re just going out there and keep that winning mentality.”
A winning mentality for West Rowan basketball has never been a problem. Don’t forget it has two state championships this decade and is currently 2-0 without the football players.
This is a good week to have the gridiron greats back in sneakers, though. West has three away games in four days, beginning tonight at Northwest Cabarrus.
Gurley said he never thought about giving the football players any leisure time.
“I can’t afford to give them days off,” Gurley said. “The honest truth is, I’m happy and joyous, but we have NPC games this week.”
K.J. Sherrill, the 6-foot-7 Charlotte recruit, will certainly benefit from having Smith, a 6-3 brute, down in the paint with him. He is to Sherrill what power forward Maurice Lucas was to Bill Walton. What Truck Robinson was to Bernard King.
“I tell K.J. to do what he does best ó score,” Smith said. “I’ll do all the dirty work.”
Which means taking charges, playing tough defense, grabbing every rebound in sight and blocking shots.
And occasionally scoring.
“It’s going to be hard to get back in basketball shape,” Smith said. “Practice will be more intense. We’ll challenge each other every day.”
Not only will West open its conference slate against talented Northwest, it will go to Davie on Wednesday and travel to Carson on Friday. Gurley’s football players have one practice until they jump into the fire.
“Most teams had two weeks to prepare (for conference),” Gurley sighed. “We’ve got two hours.”
Smith is slowly but surely coming down from the state championship euphoria.
“It feels like a dream,” he said. “I’m still trying to wake up.”
Wake up quickly, Chris. You’ve got a game tonight.

One person happy to see the football players join the Falcons is senior star Kaleb Kimber.
“They’ll mix in well,” Kimber said. “We’ll be better, a lot better. We’ll be super strong.”
Asked about basketball’s chances of matching football, Kimber displayed a wide smile.
“We can do it, too,” he announced.

Just for the record, Gurley was quick to point out that West hasn’t won in The Pit at Northwest since 2004.
That was the season West finished 6-18.

Other games tonight have South traveling to Statesville and Ledford at Salisbury.
South’s girls are unbeaten in the NPC at 3-0 and are 4-1 overall.
The defending champion Greyhounds are 4-0 and 5-0.

There are three doubleheaders on Wednesday with the big game being East Rowan’s boys at Carson. It was switched from Tuesday.
West has its games at Davie and South plays host to A.L. Brown.

On the air tonight, Howard Platt and The Coach, Bob Parker, will be calling Salisbury’s boys game on WSTP 1490 AM.
On Friday, the dynamic duo will be at Carson for the Cougars game with West.
Go to a basketball game tonight, folks. It’s time to come indoors and get football out of your system.
Well, actually, there will be at least one more day of football in the Post. On Thursday, we’ll write about Nate Dulin, West’s linebacker, as the 15th and final Friday Night, er, Saturday Morning Hero.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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