Statesville boys 54, South Rowan 49

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

By Mike London
STATESVILLE ó South Rowan’s boys lived at the foul line Tuesday ó and finally died there.
The Raiders lost 54-49 to youthful, athletic Statesville in an NPC game that was easily winnable with decent free-throw accuracy.
South (4-6, 1-1) was a dismal 9-for-24 from the charity stripe. One uncontested 15-footer after another danced tantalizingly off the rim.”It was like self-inflicted wounds with a shotgun,” South coach John Davis said. “We did a good job of getting to the line. We didn’t make them count. We left countless opportunities on the table.”
Statesville (2-7, 1-2) couldn’t buy a free throw either. That made for a lively evening at Sampsel Gym. The Greyhounds were 6-for-17 at the foul line.
“There was a point there where we missed eight of them in a row,” Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said. “But we’re really young ó five freshmen, three sophomores. We’re still learning how to win games and not just give them away. We almost gave away another one.”
Senior John Davis, the coach’s son, scored 19 points for the Raiders, although he’d be the first to tell you he didn’t have a great night. B.J. Grant was a beast for South in the first half, when he had 11 of his 13 points and eight of his 12 rebounds.
The tone was set before tipoff. Statesville received a technical foul for having two players in the scorebook with the same number. Davis went to the line to shoot the technicals. He missed. Then he missed again. Still 0-0.
Statesville controlled a first half that was almost out of control.
“We didn’t have much energy at the start,” Coach Davis said. “We were just meandering around out there, and they were going right by us.”
South turned it over nine times in the first quarter. It was frantic and frenzied.
“I can’t explain it,” said South guard Mark McDaniel, who was the calmest guy in the building most of the night. “That first half, we played Statesville’s game, not ours.”
Statesville led 33-25 at halftime. South got a defensive spark from McDaniel late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to narrow the gap. Jon Gaddy helped. He gave South a different look, and his quickness on defense helped the Raiders peck away.When Davis nailed a 3-pointer with 3:32 remaining ó just South’s second of the game ó the Raiders trailed 46-45.
With South trailing by two with 2:26 left, Davis was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He swished two free throws for a tie, but he missed the one that would’ve put South on top.
“We caught up, but we couldn’t get the lead,” Coach Davis said.
The key possession came with the Greyhounds clinging to a 50-49 edge. They played keep-away for a solid minute before Quaylan Whitaker got loose for a layup with 40 seconds left.
“We had to get an easy look there,” said Schofield, elated to get a layup instead of a trip to the foul line. “Our young guys all had big eyes, and I wasn’t sure anyone wanted the ball. But it worked out.”Gaddy missed a driving shot with 23 seconds left. Grant skied for the offensive rebound and got fouled, but he missed both free throws. Davis rebounded, but he couldn’t convert inside as he crashed to the floor, and the Hounds got a layup on the other end to seal the victory.”The free throws just wouldn’t fall,” summed up McDaniel. “It didn’t feel right all night.”
South is the No. 6 seed for the Christmas tournament and opens against No. 3 Davie.
SOUTH ROWAN (49) ó Davis 19, Grant 13, McDaniel 6, Gaddy 4, Akers 3, Houston 2, Glaspy 2, Sharpe, Dessasore, Maxwell.
STATESVILLE (54) óSchofield 16, Whitaker 10, Gaither 8, Mott 8, Edwards 6, Willis 4, Gill 2, Lowry.
S. Rowan 12 13 14 10 ó 49
Statesville 17 16 11 10 ó 54