Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 74, North Iredell 32

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA ó The philosopher is unknown, but the saying has stood the test of time.
“People are like tea bags óyou have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are.”
West Rowan’s boys basketball was immersed in hot water when it lost a tough game to third-ranked Lake Norman team last Wednesday. But the Falcons’ response has been very strong ó two angry, wicked NPC blowouts.
West followed up Friday’s 87-43 mauling of Carson with a 74-32 bludgeoning of overmatched North Iredell on Monday in a makeup of a game postponed during West’s long football run.
K.J. Sherrill had to be shocked he wasn’t in early foul trouble and equally shocked he didn’t have two defenders surrounding him. He had 22 points and nine rebounds, scoring on everything from a face-up 17-footer to a spinning reverse dunk that wowed a small crowd.
“I’ve practiced that dunk a few times but never had the chance to use it in a game,” Sherrill said. “They played me straight up, and I was able to step out and show my shot and some of the things I’ve been working on.”
North Iredell (2-10, 1-8) managed five points in the first quarter. West’s Kaleb Kimber matched that total with one NBA-ish burst in the second. In a span of 10 seconds, Kimber supplied a dunk, a steal and a 3-pointer.
Coach Mike Gurley secured his 261st win in Mount Ulla and is 16-0 against North Iredell. He watched West (11-2, 7-1) limit the visitors to three offensive boards.
North Iredell last beat West in 1976, and this one was lopsided enough that Gurley had crowd favorite Coleman Phifer bounding onto the floor in the third quarter.
“For playing on a Monday and at an odd time (there were no girls games) we were very focused,” Gurley said. “That showed a lot of respect for North Iredell and for the game of basketball. My guys went out there and did everything I wanted them to do. We’re growing as a team.”
West, ranked 10th in 3A, was never challenged. It was 32-12 at the half and 58-21 after three quarters.
West played its best to begin the second half. North Iredell struggled to get the ball up the floor, and West piled up 14 points in three minutes. Jordan Kimber had two assists and hit a baseline floater to start the carnage.
Next, a Kaleb Kimber steal led to a K.J. Sherrill dunk. Then Sherrill returned the favor when his blocked shot and steal triggered two layup opportunities for Kimber.
“We played at a pace and let things come to us,” K.J. Sherrill said. “We moved our feet on defense and communicated. That makes the game a lot easier.”
North Iredell coach Tony Davenport, a fine player at Catawba nine years ago, had an opportunity to scout West twice ó losses to Salisbury and Lake Norman.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen West win,” he said, managing a rueful smile. “They’ve been better every time I’ve seen them. Just a great ballclub, and they jumped on us good.”
Davenport said 6-foot-7 K.J. Sherrill, a Charlotte signee, was a presence his team had not encountered.
“He changed a lot of shots, and there were situations where our guys normally attack that they saw K.J. and pulled back,” Davenport said. “We couldn’t get a rebound, and that’s a problem we haven’t faced. Not even against Lake Norman.”
north iredell (32) ó Pierce 7, Haynes 7, Cooper 6, Ward 5, Mitchell 3, K. Sharpe 2, Stuckey 1, R. Sharpe 1, Pharr, Jordan, Bouchard, Sloan, Smith. west rowan (74) ó K.J. Sherrill 22, K. Kimber 14, K. Sherrill 9, B.J. Sherrill 5, Noble 5, J. Kimber 5, Smith 4, Moore 3, Huffman 3, Crucitti 2, Gore 2, Grant, Phifer.
N. Iredell 5 7 9 11 ó 32
W. Rowan 19 13 26 16 ó 74