Prep Basketball: South Rowan boys 72, East Rowan 66

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2009

By Bill Kiser
LANDIS ó South Rowan head coach John Davis didn’t expect his team would have an easy time with county rival East Rowan.
The Mustangs didn’t disappoint, rallying from a double-digit deficit midway through the fourth quarter to make a game of it.
But the Raiders got key free throws down the stretch from Hunter Morrison and others to pull out a 72-66 North Piedmont Conference victory Friday night.
Reid Shaver scored a season-high 20 points to lead four players in double figures for South Rowan (8-7, 5-4), which is now tied for fourth place in the league standings with West Iredell.
Morrison finished with 16 points for the Raiders, John Davis had 12 and Blake Houston 10.
“This group’s been playing together for a long time,” coach Davis said after South’s second win over East this season. “They’ve got senior leadership out there and some juniors who have been playing together for a while, and nothing really rattles them.
“We played well at times, but there were times when we played poorly. … Still, they kept digging and doing the best they could.”
Chris McKenzie scored a career-high 17 points in the fourth quarter for East Rowan (5-8, 4-5). Brian Grohman added 16 points and Daniel Plummer 12 for the Mustangs, who managed to fight back despite turning the ball over 31 times, 12 in the third quarter alone.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve had problems with turnovers this season,” East Rowan head coach Greg McKenzie said. “We’ve had several games like this, but we’ve always found a way to win. … We nearly did it again tonight, too.”
While both teams had problems with turnovers ó 55 combined, with nearly two-thirds traveling calls ó East enjoyed a 17-shot advantage (62 attempts to 45 for South) thanks to its inside game.
The big difference came at the free-throw line ó the Raiders went 28-of-35, while the Mustangs hit just 6 of 12.
South Rowan, which led from midway through the first quarter and was ahead 36-24 at the half, went ahead by 14 points four times in the fourth quarter, the last at 56-42 on Shaver’s breakaway dunk with 4:34 remaining.
But Chris McKenzie scored 14 points in the fourth quarter as East fought back to within two points twice. He hit a 3-pointer with 2:20 left to cut South’s lead to 61-59, and hit another 3 followed by a Plummer layup to pull East within 68-66 with 14 seconds remaining.
However, South scored its final 13 points from the free-throw line. Morrison converted on eight of those, including two with 10.5 seconds left to give the Raiders some breathing room.
EAST ROWAN (66) ó C. McKenzie 17, Grohman 16, Plummer 12, Ajayi 6, allen 6, Moore 5, Webe 4, Mancil, Honeycutt, Slater.SOUTH rowan (72) ó Shaver 20, Morrison 16, Davis 6, Houston 10, Johnson 6, Walker 4, Corriher 2, Grant 2.
E. Rowan 10 14 12 30 ó 66
S. Rowan 18 18 12 24 ó 72