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Prep Basketball: Mooresville boys 56, East Rowan 43

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
MOORESVILLE ó East Rowan’s boys basketball season is rapidly falling apart.
The Mustangs made only 15 baskets and dropped their third straight NPC game Friday night, a 56-43 loss at Mooresville.
“I wish I had a clue,” coach Greg McKenzie said after East (7-13, 6-10) lost for the sixth time in its last eight games. “But the answer is you’ve got to score. Especially when you have a little momentum ó you’ve got to score, you’ve got to make easy shots.”
East did neither and watched Mooresville (8-9, 8-7) hustle off with an easier-than-expected win.
“We played this game at their pace,” ER’s Daniel Plummer said after scoring a game-high 16 points. “We couldn’t slow them down and play our game. We just couldn’t adapt.”
East spent most of the evening peering under the hood, searching for a quick fix. It trailed 24-19 at halftime against a team it defeated 55-50 on Jan. 2.
“The biggest difference was we actually made some shots this time,” said winning coach Mike Micklow. “We did a great job stepping to the ball and made shots when we needed them.”
East made its best run of the game early the third quarter, when sophomore Chris McKenzie drained back-to-back 3-pointers and Plummer scored on an authoritative drive down the lane. When teammate Jordan Moore pulled up and sank an 8-foot jump shot, the Mustangs were sitting atop a 29-26 cushion.
“We started hitting the open man and making easy passes,” Plummer explained. “Our whole thing is ‘Don’t dribble until you have to.’ And that was working for us.”
It worked until East started missing layups and open-look jumpers. The Mustangs held the lead for nearly five minutes in the third period but fell behind for good when Tyrell Sutton drove for an easy layup and a 32-31 Mooresville lead after three.
“Our defense wasn’t bad,” said Coach McKenzie. “But our offense was inept. Yeah, we had the lead for five minutes. But it seemed like we didn’t score. We had the ball three or four times in a row and didn’t score. We had opportunities, but you’ve got to push the lead up a bit when you can ó and we didn’t.”
Instead, the Blue Devils ruled the fourth quarter. They switched to a full-court trap defense and forced numerous turnovers. And they went to the free throw line 31 times in the final period and converted 19. The game was still close when MHS senior Chris Patterson nailed a 3-ball from the left corner that put the hosts up 39-32 with 5:36 remaining.
“That was a huge shot,” Micklow said. “This was his first game back since he broke his (left) hand. And he just decided to give a lift tonight.”
Patterson had 10 points, joining teammates Isiah Johnson (11) and Sutton (13) in double figures.
For East, it was another bad day at the office. “I don’t know that we’ve improved much the last couple weeks,” said McKenzie. “That’s the frustrating part.”

NOTES: East junior Brian Grohman returned from a knee injury but didn’t score. … East celebrates Senior Night on Monday when Carson visits. Mooresville will host West Rowan in a makeup game this afternoon.
east ROWAN (43) ó Plummer 16, Slater 8, McKenzie 6, Torrence 4, Moore 4, Honeycutt 2, Allen 2, Mancil 1, Morton, Ajayi. Grohman, Weber.
mooresville (56) ó Sutton 13, I.Johnson 11, Patterson 10, Lester 7, Caldwell 3, Ryan 3, Willis 2, K.Johnson 2, Wilson 2, Blackwood 2, Powell 1.E. Rowan 7 12 12 12 ó 43
Mooresville 12 12 8 24 ó 56

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