Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 60, West Iredell 36
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA ó Mike Gurley didn’t take a single jumper, didn’t run up and down the court, and didn’t have to play defense. But he might have been as tired as any Falcon after a 60-36 North Piedmont Conference victory over West Iredell on Tuesday night.
Every other second, it seemed, he was wheeling around motioning to his bench:
“Keshun, get Kaleb.
“Chris, give K.J. a blow.”
“Crucitti, get B.J.”
“Jason, get Myles.”
“Myles, get Jason.”
You get the idea.
Those quick substitutions helped wear down the smaller Warriors from the outset. West (17-2, 13-1) sped to a 20-7 lead after one quarter and cruised the rest of the way as nine Falcons got in the scoring column. K.J. Sherrill led the way with 12, while Keshun Sherrill had 10.
Getting everyone playing time keeps Gurley busy.
“This is new for me,” he said. “For 10-plus years, (former assistant) Robert Hairston did the substituting. But we’re pretty doggone deep. Not everybody is a complete basketball player but I think we have a lot of pieces on the floor where guys can do one or two things pretty well.
“And they all go hard in practice, so we try to give them playing time. We feel they deserve it.”
After the first quarter, Keshun Sherrill, Myles Moore and Kaleb Kimber each had five points.
“West Rowan is a solid ballclub,” praised Warrior coach Brian Cantrell.
Swarming defense was the key as the Falcons kept swiping the ball from Cantrell’s Warriors (8-12, 4-11). When Chris Smith powered a rebound back in, West had doubled the score, 32-16.
Warrior star Quan Rucker was the only problem West had early. He scored West Iredell’s first 11 points.
“We respect our opponents,” Gurley said, “and there’s not an opponent I respect more than Quan Rucker. I told our guys, ‘This might be the last time we play them so No. 22 is going to throw his heart on the floor.’ ”
Smith hunkered down on defense from that point and Rucker scored only three more points.
West was getting timely threes and easy baskets underneath with the penetration of K.P. Parks and Keshun Sherrill, which was needed since Jordan Kimber missed the game with shin splints.
When Gurley wasn’t subbing, he was enjoying every minute of watching the good ó and the not so good.
Once, the 6-foot-7 K.J. missed a dunk, but grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Standing at the free-throw line, he sheepishly turned and smiled at Gurley.
“I’ve gotten so used to him trying to throw it down so hard,” Gurley said. “I’ll bet he’s missed four or five of them this year. I told him, “You might be the worst dunker I know.”
That was totally tongue-in-cheek. But Gurley can joke around because he knows he coaches a special group.
So does Cantrell.
“They came to play,” Cantrell said. “That’s why they’re No. 1 in the conference.”
west iredell (36) óRucker 14, Harris 6, Fallrod 5, D. Gray 5, Crosby 4, J. Gray 2.
west rowan (60) ó K.J. Sherrill 12, Keshun Sherrill 10, Moore 9, Smith 7, K. Kimber 6, Gore 5, B.J. Sherrill 5, Crucitti 4, Parks 2, Noble, Huffman, Phifer. W. Iredell 7 16 5 8 ó 36
W. Rowan 20 15 14 11 ó 60n West girls win
West Rowan’s girls broke away in the third quarter and defeated West Iredell 63-53.
The Falcons (6-8, 9-10) led only 24-23 at halftime but a 22-point third period put some distance between themselves and the Warriors.
Ayana Avery scored 27 points for West, while Peyton Sawyer added 12 and Desere Cross 11. Gabby Calloway chipped in with six.
west iredell (53) óRenwick 11, Tuttle 10, Chapman 10, Sigmon 7, Frye 7, Walden 6, Watts 2.
west rowan (63) ó Avery 27, Sawyer 12, Cross 11, Calloway 6, Parker 3, Simmons 2, Watkins 2, Gillespie, Holloway. W. Iredell 8 15 15 15 ó 53
W. Rowan 14 10 22 17 ó 63