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Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 72, East Rowan 39

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
MOUNT ULLA ó A stocky junior guard with bulging biceps, thick shoulders and a confident smile bounded off West Rowan’s deep bench and reported to the scorer’s table.
K.P. Parks, West’s record-setting football running back, played his first basketball game of the season Friday.
Parks, who scored 507 points during the last two seasons, went out of his way to fit in. He took zero shots and logged seven assists as the Falcons trampled East Rowan 72-39 and stayed on the heels of NPC leader Lake Norman.
“That was a lot of inspiration seeing K.P.,” said sophomore Dominique Noble, who scored 10 points. “Everyone felt the vibe. Everything fit like lock and key.”
Of course, it’s still K.J. Sherrill’s team. The 6-foot-7 senior may not have produced vibes, but he had 20 points, yanked down eight rebounds, blocked three shots and intimidated 10 others. And this was his quietest game in a while.
East’s Daniel Plummer scored 13 points and took three charges, but the Mustangs, who miss injured rebounder Brian Grohman, were overmatched. No one else scored more than five points, and East (7-11, 6-8) turned it over 19 times while shooting 31 percent.
“It wasn’t like our guys didn’t come out and challenge West, and we didn’t play that bad, especially in the first half,” East coach Greg McKenzie said. “But we made mistakes and against a team that good those mistakes get magnified and amplified.”
Most of the magnifying and amplifying was done by West reserves, who actually produced more points than East. Noble, Myles Moore, Keshun Sherrill, B.J. Sherrill, Maxx Gore and Brett Huffman combined for 40 points.
West (16-2, 12-1) won its seventh straight and hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 50 in that streak.
East opened with a triangle-and-two defense to contain K.J. Sherrill and Kaleb Kimber (10 points). It worked early. West didn’t score the first 3 minutes, 17 seconds, but Kimber finally broke the ice with a drive for a 2-2 tie. It was an onslaught from there.
“It seemed like we were down 2-0 for 15 minutes,” West coach Mike Gurley said. “But then Noble and B.J. Sherrill got on the glass for hustle points. We were flowing tonight, and every guy who came in either maintained or added to what we were doing.”
Offensive production from a less-rushed Noble, who had scored 11 points all season, was a surprise to everyone.
“The coaches have kept telling me I just needed to slow down a little, and I finally did it,” Noble explained.
West led 15-6 after a quarter and stretched its edge to 33-17 at halftime.
“We were doing a lot of good things, but it wasn’t showing up on the scoreboard,” McKenzie said. ” And when that happens, kids tend to think they’re playing worse than they really are.”
K.J. Sherrill scored nine points in the third quarter, as the lead grew. It was over long before West drilled four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Parks hit no 3s, but the gym buzzed over his return. It’s unusual for a team to add a player at the end of January, but Parks is not an ordinary athlete.
Parks carries a major load for West football and ends each season battered and drained. Gurley explained Parks needed time to recover physically and to mentally make a commitment to play. Parks approached Gurley after Tuesday’s game and said he was ready.
“I’ve talked to K.P., but I’ve never pressured him,” Gurley said. “He’s not the only kid I’d do this for, but he’s the only kind of kid I’d do this for. He’s high-character, and he’s given everything he has to our football program, our basketball program and to this school from the first day he got here.”
east rowan (39) ó Plummer 13, Allen 5, McKenzie 5, Weber 4, Mancil 4, Slater 4, Honeycutt 2, Ajayi 2, J.Moore.
west rowan (72) ó K.J. Sherrill 20, Noble 10, K. Kimber 10, M. Moore 8, K. Sherrill 8, B.J. Sherrill 6, Gore 5, Huffman 3, J. Kimber 2, Phifer, Parks, Smith, Crucitti.E. Rowan 6 11 12 10 ó 39
W. Rowan 15 18 19 20 ó 72

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