South Rowan boys 71, C. Cabarrus 70
By Mike London
firstname.lastname@example.orgLANDIS ó The scouting report South Rowan coach John Davis received on Central Cabarrus didn’t stuff him with optimism.
They’re bigger than you, they’re more athletic than you, and they shoot the ball better than you do.”That report was just full of good news,” Davis said with a chuckle.
The scouting report wasn’t inaccurate. Despite the 4-19 record Central posted while competing in the 4A ranks last season, the Vikings looked solid.
South, embarrassed by short-handed A.L. Brown on opening night, still managed to win 71-70. Mark McDaniel was the hero, driving for two late layups to overcome a three-point deficit.
McDaniel banked in the game-winner over three Vikings as the clock ticked to zeroes. He shot with his off-hand on his least comfortable side of the floor for a pretty remarkable finish. Davis joked that it was the first right-handed shot the southpaw had made in his life.
“They had my left hand covered up so I guess it was a tough shot,” McDaniel said. “But there was no time. I had to try it.”
South got 21 points from John Davis (the younger version), a career-high 18 from Blake Houston and 15 from McDaniel, a junior who’s played only a handful of varsity games.
“We had a terrible opener, then we practiced on Monday about as bad as a team can practice,” Davis said. “But maybe these guys are gamers. This one is gonna make the turkey taste a little better.”
South (1-1) played 3-2 zone, held Central to 40-percent shooting in the first half and clawed its way to a 31-28 halftime lead.
Houston’s back-to-back 3s erased a second-quarter deficit.
The hard-nosed Davis, who took two charges and shot 14 free throws in the second half alone, made two from the stripe for a 58-50 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings were scoring almost at will and nailed six 3s after halftime.
“The first half we had them confused a little bit, but in the second half, they flooded our zone,” Coach Davis said. “And they can shoot the basketball.”
South slid behind by four points, but Davis hit four free throws to close the gap to 68-67. Houston took a big charge with a minute left, but South guard Jon Gaddy missed, and sophomore L.C. Cooks scored with 38 seconds left for a 70-67 Central lead.
A fearless drive on the left side by McDaniel cut the deficit to 70-69 with 12 seconds to go, and South’s B.J. Grant committed his fifth foul to put Central (0-1) on the foul line with 7.3 seconds left.
Randy Maxwell grabbed the big rebound on a miss and handed the ball off to McDaniel.
McDaniel, a devastating kick returner in football, knew what to do with it, and he had the athleticism to get it done.
“Credit the big man (Maxwell) for getting that rebound and giving me the ball,” McDaniel said. “After that, I just went for it.”
Central cabarrus (70) ó Drummer 16, Johnson 14, Cooks 13, Gay 13, Deer 9, Heath 3, Hawley 2, Payne, Daniel.
south rowan (71) ó Davis 21, Houston 18, McDaniel 15, Grant 9, Maxwell 4, Gaddy 2, Sharpe 2, Dessasore, Akers, Glaspy.
C. Cabarrus 10 18 22 20 ó 70
S. Rowan 10 21 25 15 ó 71