West Rowan boys 50, Statesville 47
By Bret Strelow
STATESVILLE ó West Rowan’s football season ended Saturday with another state championship.
Stingy defense and a timely connection involving Jon Crucitti and B.J. Sherrill also helped the Falcons win their season-opening basketball game.
West, with only three players who weren’t members of the football team, trailed NPC foe Statesville by 11 points midway through the third quarter but pulled out a 50-47 road win Tuesday night.
“The no-star Falcons of ’09-10 started the year off with a major gut-check,” West coach Mike Gurley said.
Statesville (1-6, 0-2) emerged from a timeout with 11.7 seconds remaining and didn’t get off a 3-point attempt against West’s halfcourt defense. A harmless layup in the final second didn’t draw iron.
The Falcons, thanks to consecutive charges against Statesville, led 48-47 as they inbounded from the baseline underneath the Greyhounds’ basket with 20.9 seconds left.
Sherrill set up in the lane and moved toward the free-throw line to provide a screen for point guard Keshun Sherrill, whom Statesville had been double-teaming on inbound plays.
No defenders followed the other Sherrill, West’s unbeaten quarterback, as he sprinted toward midcourt. Crucitti, a standout wide receiver, hit him in stride with a deep pass that led to a breakaway layup.
“As soon as Coach drew it up, I had a pretty good feeling about it,” Crucitti said. “We executed it well, and B.J. made the layup.
“It’s fun to be on the passing end of one.”
Keshun Sherrill (game-high 17 points) hit a 3-pointer on West’s first possession, but the Falcons didn’t reclaim the lead until 3:37 remained in the fourth quarter.
A 60-foot heave from D.J. Edwards went in to give the Greyhounds a 32-27 halftime edge, and they moved ahead 39-28 in the third quarter.
The Falcons, who are still missing Shrine Bowl selections K.P. Parks and Chris Smith, trailed 45-43 before the basketball-only Sherrill drew a foul while swishing a pull-up jumper and made the free throw for a one-point advantage.
“I was ready,” he said. “All these practices, all we’ve been doing is running, passing and shooting. I was just ready to get out here on the floor and see what it looked like live going against another team.”
Five football players were on the floor together during parts of the fourth quarter in which Keshun Sherrill was sidelined with a leg cramp.
A basket by Quaylan Whitaker pushed Statesville in front 47-46 with 2:54 left, and B.J. Sherrill (15 points) got the roll on a short jumper 28 seconds later.
He took a charge to negate a go-ahead runner with 33.8 seconds left. Crucitti took another charge at the same spot seven seconds later following a West turnover against the Greyhounds’ press.
“We hate losing,” said Sherrill, who guided the 2009 football team to a 16-0 record. “If it means you have to take a charge to win, we’re willing to do it. Whatever it takes to win and help the team out.”
NOTES: The two Sherrills were West’s only double-figure scorers. Domonique Noble was next with seven points, and Isiah Cuthbertson contributed six. … The Falcons face A.L. Brown tonight.
WEST ROWAN (50) ó K.Sherrill 17, B.Sherrill 15, Noble 7, Cuthbertson 6, Phillips 3, Turner 2, Crucitti, Warren, Gore, Phifer.
STATESVILLE (47) ó Mott 16, Schofield 10, Whitaker 9, Edwards 6, Gaither 2, Watlinton 2, Gill 2, Willis, Pavelock, Harrington.
W. Rowan 15 12 10 13 ó 50
Statesville 17 15 9 6 ó 47