Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 74, West Iredell 73, OT

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

By Bill Kiser
STATESVILLE ó Just a week ago, West Rowan’s boys lost their first game.
On Tuesday, the Falcons nearly saw their unblemished NPC record meet the same fate.West Rowan fought back from a 13-point deficit to force overtime, then got a pair of free throws from Kaleb Kimber in the closing seconds to beat West Iredell 74-73.
Senior center K.J. Sherrill had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Falcons, who face first-place Lake Norman tonight. Kimber finished with 18 points.
West Rowan (9-1, 5-0) had to overcome turnovers against the Warriors (9-5, 4-4) to remain in contention for the league title.
“They punched us in the mouth,” West Rowan coach Mike Gurley said. “And when it looked like we were going to turn it back around, they punched us in the mouth again.
“But I was proud of my guys for having the fortitude to play as hard as West Iredell.”
The Falcons cut West Iredell’s lead to 64-62 on Kimber’s jumper with 1:41 left in regulation.
The Warriors pushed their advantage to 67-62 on free throws by Drew Alford and Quan Rucker over the next 40 seconds. Kimber drained a 3-pointer and converted a layup off a steal over a four-second span to force overtime.
After tying the score twice more, West Rowan pulled ahead on a Sherrill free throw with 1:07 left. Keith Gray hit a layup with 26 seconds left to put West Iredell back ahead.
Kimber was fouled as he drove the lane, and he hit two free throws to put the Falcons in the lead. Jason Grant then made a key defensive stop, knocking the ball out of bounds with three seconds remaining.
Rucker scored 24 points, P.J. Clyburn added 13 points and Gray had 11 for the Warriors, who shot 56.3 percent from the field and forced the Falcons into 18 turnovers in the first three quarters.
West Rowan turned the tables on West Iredell in the final period and overtime, forcing the Warriors into 10 turnovers and making the key defensive stops.
Ahead by five points at the half, West Iredell appeared to take command of the game with a 9-2 run ó capped by a Clyburn steal and layup ó to go ahead 38-26 with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
The Warriors pushed their lead to 13 points three times in the quarter, the last at 45-32 on Tevin Crosby’s jumper with 4:20 left, before West Rowan rallied.
The Falcons pulled within 51-46 on Kimber’s tip-in with one second left in the third quarter.
WEST ROWAN (74) ó K.J. Sherrill 24, K.Kimber 18, J.Kimber 9, Grant 8, Smith 7, Ke.Sherrill 5, Moore 3, B.J. Sherrill, Crucitti, Noble, Huffman, Gore.
WEST IREDELL (73) ó Q.Rucker 24, P.J. Clyburn 13, K.Gray 11, Alford 9, Follred 4, J.Gray 4, Stevenson 4, Smyre 2, Crosby 2, J.Rucker, D.Gray, Scott, Harris.
West Rowan 15 9 22 21 7 ó 74
West Iredell 16 13 22 16 6 ó 73