A.L. Brown 83, South Rowan 73
By Mike London
LANDIS ó A.L. Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz called on three freshmen in a varsity boys basketball game, and Tevin Stark, Derrick Copeland and Michael Carr came through.
The ninth-graders combined for 32 points as the short-handed Wonders surprised South Rowan 83-73 in Thursday’s opener at South.
Playing without seven football players still involved in the state playoffs, Klutz had nothing to lose and his players won with superior motivation, greater intensity and solid foul-shooting.
“We had little emotion at times and no emotion at others,” South coach John Davis said. “Kannapolis had a lot of young guys with something to prove and they proved it. No excuses. The bottom line is they came in here, outplayed us and beat our butts.”
Brown had only a handful of recognizable names and no famous ones, but J.J. Jones (19 points), Ian Rogers (15), Stark (15), Zach Fesperman (13) and Carr (11) all scored in double figures. Chandler Reynolds took two fourth-quarter charges.
Rogers and Jones both left the floor with injuries, but both were in there at the end and the No. 2 guards handled the ball well enough for Brown to hold on.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort all our guys gave,” said Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz, who opened his 12th season at the helm with an unexpected victory. “Anytime you win at South, no matter who we have or who they have, it’s a very good win. It’s never easy here.”
South also had five players in double figures ó B.J. Grant (17), Quan Glaspy (14), John Davis (14), Blake Houston (11) and Brad Akers (10). Davis had a team-high 12 rebounds.
“Grant went to work on us at times inside,” Klutz said. “Once he gets his basketball legs, he’ll be a terror.”
The Wonders took a 7-6 edge on one of Fesperman’s three 3-pointers three minutes into the game and never let that lead disappear.
Reserve guard John Gaddy sparked a South charge late in the first quarter, but South shot horrendously from outside in the second quarter (5-for-19) to slide behind 40-32 at the half. Rogers ended the half with a court-length drive that beat the buzzer and gave the Wonders momentum.
“We were very stagnant when they played zone,” Coach Davis said. “We turned it over on questionable passes and didn’t play well at all defensively. We’ve got guys still learning to mesh, still learning to play together.”
South trailed by 11 with 5:39 remaining but pressed frantically, put the Wonders on the line frequently and rallied as close as 73-69 on a Glaspy runner with 1:27 left.
At that point, Jones hit two big free throws, Carr created a turnover, and Rogers nailed two free throws to put it away.
A.L. Brown (83) ó Jones 19, Stark 15, Rogers 15, Fesperman 13, Carr 11, Copeland 6, Reynolds 4, Waddell, Miller. SOUTH ROWAN (73) ó Grant 17, Glaspy 14, Davis 14, Houston 11, Akers 10, Gaddy 7, McDaniel, Maxwell, Ledbetter, Dessasore, Sharpe.
A.L. Brown 21 19 18 25 ó 83
S. Rowan 19 13 21 20 ó 73