Prep Basketball: South Rowan boys 78, Mooresville 50

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

By David Shaw
LANDIS ó Was it hot at South Rowan on Wednesday ó or was that just Hunter Morrison lighting up Mooresville?
The senior guard tossed in 30 points as the host Raiders bumped and bruised their way to a 78-50 NPC victory.
“It was rough on both sides,” Morrison said after South (9-8, 6-5) prevailed in a game that was more gritty than pretty. “But we played well enough to win. I guess that’s good enough.”
South played a magnificent second quarter, when it cracked open a close game and built a 45-27 lead. The Raiders knocked down six of their nine 3-pointers in the period, including two apiece by Morrison and Steven Johnson.
“It was pretty in the second quarter,” said SR coach John Davis. “It showed how well we can play. The kids were swinging the ball, being patient and getting good shots. We were getting turnovers when we needed them and getting easy transition points. I don’t know ó that first half was about as well as we’ve played all year.”
Mooresville (4-8, 4-6) put up a strong fight in the first quarter. Back-to-back layups by Germaine Leach tied the score 18-18 with 19 seconds on the clock.
The Raiders began a second-quarter surge when Reid Shaver rattled home a 3-ball from the right side and Addison Corriher followed with a layup that gave South an eight-point lead. By the time Johnson swished his second 3-ball ó a bomb from the right corner off a feed from B.J. Grant ó SR owned a 37-23 advantage with 5:16 left in the half.
“Those were mainly just drives-and-kicks,” Johnson said. “On the second one I noticed no one was on my side. B.J. saw me open and I hit it.”
Morrison, who reached the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season, drilled his fourth and final 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining in the half, providing a 42-25 edge.
“We were playing smart,” he said. “We ran the floor and got the ball to open people. And we’ve got guys who can knock down 3s.”
Davis cited South’s defensive squeeze as a reason for the breakout second period. A 13-2 run ó accomplished in less than two minutes ó put the Raiders in the driver’s seat.
“It was our pressure on the ball that started forcing turnovers,” he said. “Then Steven hit a couple of big shots and we got guys wide open and got good looks. That’s just Basketball 101. It’s nothing special. It’s nothing we draw up. It’s these guys getting familiar with each other.”
South earned an ‘A’ in chemistry for this effort ó and it started with rebounding. Morrison made a point of recalling how Mooresville pulled down four offensive rebounds on each of its first two possessions when the teams met in December.
“We wanted to make sure we got those boards,” he said. “Our big men did a great job. We definitely picked up our defense and starting getting rebounds in that second quarter.”
The game turned sloppy in the third period, when Mooresville was whistled for a pair of technical fouls. And in the fourth, after Shaver and guard John Davis had fouled out, Morrison’s ballhandling skills proved decisive. He had a layup and went 7-for-7 from the free throw line in final 5:04.
“We needed to drain the clock a little bit,” said Coach Davis. “Nursing a lead with two guys gone ó and another in trouble, we needed Hunter to kill some time for us.”
Afterward, Johnson sent an informal thank-you note to Lake Norman, which handed South an earlier 28-point loss.
“Tonight we were determined to be more energetic and play more as a team,” he said.
mooresville (50) ó Lester 19, Wilson 14, Willis 6, Blackwood 4, Leach 4, Sutton 2, K.Johnson 1. south rowan (78) ó Morrison 30, Corriher 9, Davis 8, S.Johnson 8, Houston 7, Shaver 6, Walker 4, Grant 3, Bowles 3, D.Johnson, Honeycutt, Dessasore.
Mooresville 18 9 9 14 ó 50
S. Rowan 20 25 15 18 ó 78