Prep basketball: West boys look complete in win against Northwest, 87-75
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó Northwest Cabarrus limited 6-foot-7 West Rowan standout K.J. Sherrill to a single field goal, but the Falcons still rolled 87-75 in their first NPC game Tuesday.
Senior Kaleb Kimber poured in 28 points to lead West. His brother Jordan, a freshman, contributed 18.
“Great night for the Kimber brothers,” West coach Mike Gurley said. “Kaleb was everywhere on offense and defense.”
West, which postponed its NPC games until it received reinforcements from a 3A state-championship football team, had one day of practice with its full squad.
It still whipped Northwest in “The Pit,” a venue which has been a graveyard for recent West teams.
Northwest (5-3, 3-2) has lost twice at home this season, but coach Daniel Jenkins can only remember a couple of losses the previous three years.”We hadn’t won one here in a long time, so there’s enjoyment and relief,” Gurley said. “We emphasized before the game about how the big fellow (Sherrill) hadn’t won here.”
It was the 253rd victory at West for Gurley, who moved past Salisbury Hall of Famer Bob Pharr for third place on the county’s all-time wins list.
Sam Gealy piloted North Rowan and Salisbury teams to 266 wins. Bob Hundley won 274 times at North.
The scariest thing about Gurley’s latest win was Sherrill had just three of West’s 50 first-half points.
“It’s not gonna be the Trojans’ night when we’re not rebounding, we’re not taking care of the basketball and we’re playing YMCA offense and West is banking in 3s,” Jenkins said. “What we really needed was three more minutes there at the end of the first half. That’s when they were starting to get a little tired.”
Even with Sherrill sitting down with two early fouls, West (3-0, 1-0) scored 28 points in the first quarter.
West, with the help of a banked-in 3 by Maxx Gore and 16 points by Kaleb Kimber, led by 19 late in the second quarter.
But two 3-pointers by Justin Seager and a driving layup by Jeff Felton that beat the buzzer sliced the Falcons’ lead to 50-42 at halftime.
“Coach reminded us of all the games we’d lost here,” Kaleb Kimber said. “He told us we had to get focused and play harder. The second half, we played off K.J. and got good shots. He was the key.”
Kaleb Kimber, sidelined by a bad back most of last season, was fouled hard and crashed to the floor on several dunk attempts, but he never stopped drilling jumpers.
Northwest got as close as 52-46 early in the third quarter and Sherrill was assessed his third personal foul, but Jordan Kimber hit a big 3.
Sherrill, who swished 13 free throws, got his only bucket on a three-point play with 2:52 left in the third quarter to put West ahead 62-51.West led 71-55 after three quarters, and Northwest never made another run.
Fouls stacked up for the Trojans late. Big men Ira Hines (16 points) and Ray Kingston fouled out. So did Felton and Juwan Reid.
West was in deep foul trouble at halftime ó 56 fouls were whistled in the game ó but there was no limit to the amount of muscular, agile bodies Gurley could call on.
“There were stretches where it looked like we still had grass in our shoes,” he said with a smile. “There were also some stretches where I saw what this team has a chance to become.” WEST ROWAN (87) ó K. Kimber 28, J. Kimber 18, K.J. Sherrill 15, Gore 6, Moore 5, Smith 4, Ke. Sherrill 4, Crucitti 4, Grant 2, B.J. Sherrill 1, Noble, Huffman, Phifer, Cuthbertson.
NW CABARRUS (75) ó Hines 16, West 14, Felton 13, Seager 6, Honeycutt 6, Wright 5, Kingston 4, Kiser 4, Reid 4, Murrell 3, Brand.W. Rowan 28 22 21 16 ó 87
NW Cabarrus 18 24 13 20 ó 75