Prep Basketball: South Rowan boys 67, Carson 61

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

By Mike London
CHINA GROVE ó Carson and South Rowan student sections dueled creatively all night long, but the last chant told the story.
When dejected Carson supporters finally offered, “Let’s play baseball,” even South coach John Davis smiled and it was clear his team was going to escape its neighbor’s gym with a victory.
South won 67-61 on Tuesday, claiming a key NPC win and avenging a 64-57 loss to the Cougars in the Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
Energy was the difference for the Raiders (7-7, 4-4).
“At the Christmas tournament, Carson was moving twice as fast as we were, even in warmups,” Davis said. “We changed that tonight.”
Reid Shaver was terrific for the Raiders. On a night when 3-pointers were being launched from every corner of the gym, the red-headed senior took the ball to the rim and was the highest-percentage option on the court. He shot 8-for-12 and scored 18.
“It was a fun game I must say,” Shaver said. “This is a hard environment to play in, but we had some intensity. We weren’t flat like we were in the Christmas tournament.”
Steven Johnson, quiet for weeks, erupted for 16 huge points for South, while Hunter Morrison scored 15. B.J. Grant contributed nine rebounds and a block of a shot by Carson star Darius Moose that gave South a rush of adrenaline in the second quarter. Blake Houston made big plays in the stretch run.
Moose continued his march toward becoming the first 1,000-point Cougar with 19 points and 10 boards. He has 982 points in his career.
Josh Doby hit four long-distance 3s and scored 16 points for Carson (6-8, 2-6).
“We did a lot of things well and fought back several times,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “We did a pretty good job against Morrison, but Reid really got to the rim and Johnson made big shots.”
Johnson scored 22 points when South knocked off Salisbury opening night, but he’d averaged 4.4 points in South’s previous nine games. He made his comeback with a seven-point second quarter, and he hit two momentum-building 3s to start the second half.
“Steven started the season with a lot of emotion,” Davis said. “This was another emotional game, and we’ve just got to get him to keep that emotion going the rest of the season.”
South shot 8-for-16 in the first quarter to take an 18-15 lead, but Doby’s 10-point first half kept the Cougars in the thick of it. The Cougars wiped out a seven-point deficit for a 33-33 tie, but Johnson’s 3 gave South the lead at the break.
Moose made three straight buckets inside as Carson fought to a 51-50 lead late in the third quarter, but Shaver’s hanging jumper put South ahead by one heading to the final eight minutes, as a packed gym roared.
The crowd really got into it in the fourth quarter, as Shaver threw his body all over the floor. He tried to draw four charges on Carson drives. He got the call only once.
“It was a charging ordeal, and the charges weren’t really working for me,” Shaver said with a laugh. “I thought sure I had two, maybe three. But mostly I was just trying to stop Moose. When he gets it, nine times out of 10, he scores.”
Carson went cold in the fourth quarter, and South was able to build a six-point lead with 1:14 left. But things tightened up after Shaver was called for a block as Brandon Ferrare drove the lane. A free throw by Ferrare and a Moose stickback cut South’s lead to 62-59 with a minute left.
Houston hit a free throw for South, but Ferrare found Moose inside, and he slickly and quickly made it 63-61.
Morrison hit two big free throws with 26 seconds left to give South a four-point lead. Then Shaver and John Davis created a steal, and Shaver sealed it with two free throws with seven seconds remaining.
“Our defense wasn’t good enough,” Moose said. “We sorta slowed Hunter down, but we let them get too many layups.”
south rowan (67) ó Shaver 18, Johnson 16, Morrison 15, B. Houston 7, Grant 4, Davis 3, Walker 2, Corriher 2.
carson (61) ó Moose 19, Doby 16, N. Houston 9, Heggins 7, Sewell 5, Ferrare 3, Clanton 2, Walser, Holloway, Begic.S. Rowan 18 18 16 15 ó 67
Carson 15 18 18 10 ó 61