Prep basketball: South Rowan boys 63, A.L. Brown 54
By Paul Hershey
KANNAPOLIS ó Turnabout was fair play for South Rowan’s boys against rival A.L. Brown ó again.
In the first meeting two weeks ago at South, the Raiders were just coming off of football and lost by 10 to the short-handed Wonders.
Brown had its football players back Thursday night, but South had its basketball legs ó especially in the second half ó and pulled away to a 63-54 victory.
The teams traded wins in the exact same manner last season.
“Same thing happened last year … and we took it as a little slap in the face and came back and played harder the second time and got the win,” South guard Blake Houston said.
Houston and fellow senior John Davis each scored 15 points to lead the Raiders (2-2). They overcame a seven-point halftime deficit with a dominant third quarter and then made the key plays in the fourth.
That was a nice switch from a loss to Jay M. Robinson on Tuesday, when South blew a 20-point second-half lead.
“That one still hurts, but this makes you feel a little bit better,” South head coach John Davis said.
The Raiders used an 18-9 edge in the third quarter to take a two-point lead to the fourth. Brown scored six straight points to go up 47-45, but South responded with an 11-2 spurt and didn’t look back.
B.J. Grant started the run with a layup. Houston hit a deep 3-pointer and fed a nifty behind-the-back pass to Mark McDaniel for a layup on a three-on-two break that made it 54-49 with four minutes left.
“I was expecting the whole time that if (the defender) was going to come up on me, I was going to put it behind the back, and it worked out good for us,” Houston said.
Brad Akers added a follow basket in transition, Houston finished another break with a reverse and the Raiders made 7 of 9 free throws down the stretch.
“We’ve got our legs a little bit, and for those guys it was the first time coming out,” coach John Davis said. “They played hard, but our guys were able to make some plays at the end.”
Brown scored 83 points in the first meeting and did well against South’s 3-2 zone in the first half of the rematch. Center Jabari Watts had six points off the bench to help the Wonders build the 32-25 lead.
But Davis switched to a 1-3-1 zone in the third quarter and Brown went ice cold, missing its first 12 shots.
“They were flooding us with big guys and dropping the ball inside, so we just changed it up a little bit,” Davis said. “That’s something they don’t normally see from us, and it was pretty successful for us in the second half.”
Inspired by Davis’ speech in the locker room, the Raiders came out flying with an 8-0 run in the first 2:34 of the second half to take the lead.
John Davis hit a driving layup, Grant laid in an alley-oop, Akers made a one-handed tip-in and Grant converted a steal into another layup to put the Raiders up for the first time since it was 1-0.
The coach wouldn’t reveal the content of his message, but it clearly worked.
“A little motivational speech that’s between us and them,” he said. “The kids came out and took care of the basketball and were able to get some turnovers, and that was key. This is a college-sized court, so if you can get turnovers and get your guys running out, you can put pressure on them and start wearing them out a little bit.
“We had talked about being more aggressive and pushing it down the court, so we got what we wanted.”
After Brown made two free throws, the Raiders scored seven straight points, beginning with a runner by Houston. South led 40-34 before the Wonders finally made a basket on a layup by Ian Rogers with 2:40 left in the quarter.
Brown went on to make just 3 of 18 shots from the field in the period.
“Against their zone, for some reason it gave us trouble tonight,” Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, and that’s pretty much what it boiled down to.
“They did a good job. They beat us on the boards, and they were a little quicker to the ball than we were, so give them credit.”
Houston had 12 of his 15 points in the second half, while Grant totaled 13 points and was a monster on the boards.
Freshman Michael Carr led the Wonders with 13 points, hitting three 3-pointers, while Rogers added 10 points. While A.L. Brown got most of its football players back, Jaques Deese and Tevin Jones sat out with injuries.
South plays its third game of the week tonight at Central Cabarrus. The Raiders then play four games next week, a schedule Davis said was more suited for the pros.
“We’re going to put an NBA logo patch on our jerseys and get ready to roll again,” he said.
SOUTH ROWAN (63) ó Davis 15, Houston 15, Grant 13, McDaniel 9, Akers 7, Glaspy 4, Gaddy, Ledbetter, Dessasore, Maxwell.
A.L. BROWN (54) ó Carr 13, Rogers 10, Watts 9, Falls 4, Reynolds 3, Fesperman 3, Jones 2, Stark 2, Knox 2, Gray 2, Washington 2.
S. Rowan 9 16 18 20 ó 63
A.L. Brown 13 19 9 13 ó 54
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