Prep Basketball: North Rowan boys 68, South Stanly 42
By Ronnie Gallagher
NORWOOD ó North Rowan’s boys basketball team introduced itself to the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference on Tuesday night.
As far as South Stanly was concerned, it was a rude introduction.
North’s pressure defense, led by Sam Starks, helped the Cavs blow the game open in the second quarter on their way to an easy 68-42 victory.
“I’m very excited,” said coach Kelly Everhart of his team, which revved up its engine after leading only 11-8 at the end of one quarter. The Cavs were still pumped from a season-opening win against Salisbury.
“The win against Salisbury was big because it was an emotional game,” Everhart said. “Coming down here, we knew nothing about South Stanly. It was a new experience.”
It’s an experience Everhart hopes to relive. He praised one Cavalier after another. And why not? It was an impressive display.
Senior Greg Sims drove and dished for six assists. Freshman Oshon West soared over the Rebel Bulls for putback after putback, finishing as North’s leading scorer with 15. Pierre Givens hit 3s and ended the night with 13. Starks turned his defense into a 10-point night.
“We played defense like we were supposed to,” Starks said. “That was basically it. We played as a team the whole game.”
And when asked about the Cavs, South Stanly coach Sean Whitley said not to forget about No. 24 ó Javon Hargrave.
“He was a monster inside,” Whitley said. “He killed us on the boards.”
For the record, Hargrave was the fourth Cav in double figures, scoring 12 to go with his 11 rebounds.
North got untracked after the first quarter. The Cavaliers hit high gear, outscoring South 26-8 for a 37-16 lead at halftime.
“We did a good job of getting our hands on a lot of balls,” Everhart said. “I thought Sam was the spark that got us going and Oshon did a great job on the boards. They weren’t doing a real good job of boxing him out.”
Most everything North got was inside the lane. The only outside shot of the second quarter was a 3-pointer by Starks.
“When you shoot that close to the basket, your percentage is going to go up,” Everhart said with a smile.
Whitley told his team to try and chip away at the deficit three minutes at a time. But there was no letup from North in the second half.
“They just kept the tempo up,” Whitley said.
“Coach told us to keep running, running, running,” Sims said, who, along with Givens, forms a formidable backcourt duo. “We kept sticking it to them.”
Another freshman, towering 6-foot-6 Malik Ford, got in on the act in the third quarter with two straight buckets that pushed the lead to 30 points at 57-27.
The teams played a ho-hum fourth quarter, but the closest South could get was 63-40.
That just made Hargrave mad. He scored five straight points on power moves.
“We knew they’d be athletic,” Whitley said. “We knew they’d want to run and force the tempo. They out-executed us. We weren’t prepared to get back and run like they were. They got after it.”
NOTES: Ford scored seven. Daniel Chambers had three and Jarvis Witherspoon two for North … Sims was definitely the floor leader, playing under control and looking out for his teammates. “Greg really came on at the end of last year and didn’t force as many things,” Everhart said. “He picked up right where he left off.” … North’s game on Thursday against West Rowan has been postponed until Jan. 23. The Cavs next face Salisbury in a rematch on Monday.
north rowan (68) ó West 15, Givens 13, Hargrave 12, Starks 10, Ford 7, Sims 6, Chambers 3, Witherspoon 2, Bush, Smyre.
south stanly (42) ó Long 12, Taylor 10, Davis 7, Starnes 4,Holt 4, Russell 2, Wallace 2, Short 1, Melton, Fowler, Ferguson.
N. Rowan 11 26 20 11 ó 68
S. Stanly 8 8 11 15 ó 42