Gallagher column: Roaming the county getting ready for tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 2009

Roaming the county getting ready for tonight …
There are always special nights in sports, but the most special are when you least expect them.
Take Wednesday night. Many fans were sitting in front of the TV, watching Wake Forest make a quick exit from the No. 1 spot in the polls, and North Carolina beating Clemson for the zillionth straight time in Chapel Hill.
Ah, but if you were a high school basketball fan from Rowan County, you saw not one, not two, but three spectacular performances:
– You probably thought K.J. Sherrill’s beatdown of Lake Norman was the greatest. Let’s see, 28 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots from the West Rowan star as the Falcons sent the Wildcats to their first loss.
– We thought that was pretty good, until South Rowan’s 78-50 thrashing of Mooresville was reported and we realized Raider guard Hunter Morrison had ripped the cords for 30.
– We thought that was pretty good until the East Rowan score came in ó a 94-54 laugher at North Iredell. Daniel Plummer put everybody to shame with ó sit down for this, it’ll take a while ó 31 points, seven assists, six rebounds, five blocked shots, four steals and three charges taken.
That’s what is so great about prep sports. Everything’s unpredictable. The only team with a losing record outshines the teams with the winning records.
All three games had good crowds. It’s what makes Rowan County fans special in North Carolina prep sports. They travel.
Be thankful you’re a part of it.

Sherrill, Morrison and Plummer will surely end up on the 12-man all-county team. And while Sherrill, who is headed to Charlotte next season, is the current front-runner for Player of the Year, Morrison and several others are in the conversation.

All three of these stars will be on the court tonight. West Rowan travels to South Rowan, while East Rowan is home against Northwest Cabarrus, the school Greg McKenzie coached before coming to East.
In fact, if you’re just a basketball junkie in general, you won’t have to leave the county to find an exciting basketball environment. Your toughest decision will be choosing a site.
Carson, which played last night, is home to Statesville. Salisbury plays host to Central Davidson. North Rowan, which also played last night at Lexington, is home to Ledford.

Salisbury-Central Davidson is an intriguing boys matchup. The first time the teams met, both were undefeated …and Salisbury ran out to a 57-6 lead in the third quarter. It will be interesting to see how Central performs in “The House that Windsor Built” against the surging 15-1 Hornets.
Central is 5-4 since that loss to Salisbury but still has the CCC’s second-best overall record at 12-4. The Spartans are just 3-3 in the league.

South Rowan is 9-8 going into tonight and you’ve got to love it. The last time South was over .500 after 17 games was in 2006. That team, led by names like Chapman, Wolford, Osterhus, Gore and Parks, was 11-6 before faltering late, finishing 13-12.
The current Raiders have good chemistry. John Davis enjoyed his win over Mooresville, even referring to his team’s play as “Basketball 101.” He said it was an indicator of how good his team can be when the Raiders play together.
Expect South’s gym to spill over with frenzied fans tonight against big, bad West. The Raider Rowdies will be there. Oh yeah, they’ll be there, dressed up and ready to do their usual portrayal of the Cameron Crazies.
Other schools have increased the numbers in their student sections, coming up with their own costumes and cheers. But the best Animal House is still based in Landis. They’re my people.

They’re Bob Parker’s people, too. The former South boys coach is now one of the best prep analysts in the area. He’s a natural.
Howard Platt, who, when not verbally sparring with anti-Carolina and anti-Redskins fans at Jeter’s Deli on Sunday mornings, is doing his thing on WSTP 1490-AM. He’ll join Parker to call the West at South boys game.
There is plenty of good basketball waiting on you tonight so find your way inside a local gym. And be nice.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or