West Rowan boys 61, Davie 42
By David Shaw
MOUNT ULLA ó West Rowan’s boys basketball team may be a work in progress, but here’s the good news: It never stops working.
The host Falcons will spend Christmas at .500 after outworking undermanned Davie County 61-42 on Tuesday.
“We’re in the middle of pre-season, trying to get ready for Jan. 5,” coach Mike Gurley said after West squared its overall record at 2-2. “But I’ll tell you, I like my team as much tonight as I did (Monday) night. It’s not about the wins. It’s about playing hard and playing with toughness. We may not look really good doing it because we’ve still got grass in our shoes. We’ve still got to get our roles defined. But we’ve got quality young men doing new things ó and doing them pretty well.”
Last night those young men limited Davie (6-4) to 11 field goals, including none in the pivotal final 4:30 of the second quarter. The War Eagles converted only six of 11 free throws in the second period and fell behind 26-20 at the half.
“It’s tough to win when you go that long without scoring,” Davie coach Mike Absher said. “It’s especially hard for us, a team that shoots 75 percent from the line. They caught us off guard.”
Davie was minus two starters ó hi-rise sophomore Shannon Dillard and point guard Denzel Redmon. Both were sidelined with illness.
“Defensively, this is what we’ll see in the CPC every night,” Absher said. “We wanted them to play in a game like this.”
West’s most damaging weapon was sophomore Keshun Sherrill, a shooting guard by trade who’s been handling the ball until K.P. Parks completes his prep football career. Sherrill knocked down two of the Falcons’ four 3-pointers and paced all scorers with a career-high 21 points.
“We haven’t practiced much,” said Sherrill, one of three West players who didn’t play football. “But that doesn’t matter. It’s the same as if we’ve practiced 100 times. We still have to play defense, body out and play West Rowan basketball.”
Gurley isn’t sure what that will be.
“We’ve had two and a half hours of practice, and this is our fourth game,” he said. “We’re trying to fill holes that were emptied out by graduation.”
Despite all that the Falcons soared past Davie in the second half. What had been an 18-18 street fight late in the first half transformed into a 34-23 West lead after Sherrill nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner, Isiah Cuthbertson muscled in for a putback and B.J. Sherrill drained another 3-pointer.
“That’s just from playing hard,” explained teammate Domonique Noble, one of three West scorers in double figures with 10 points. “We weren’t playing too fast. We were picking our spots and playing as a team.”
The onslaught continued in the final quarter, when West mounted 24-point leads on two occasions.
“We know Davie wasn’t hitting on all cylinders tonight,” Gurley said. “But we got on a good run in the third quarter, and it’s the first offensive burst we’ve had all year. That’s a good feeling.”
Afterward, Absher somehow found a pearl in the mud.
“Other people had to play for us,” he said. “And somebody got some valuable minutes. That somebody may help us in the conference season, in the playoffs or perhaps as soon as next week in the Christmas tournament.”
NOTES: West committed eight personal fouls in the first quarter. … Davie will enter the Sam Moir Christmas Classic, scheduled for Dec. 28-30 at Catawba’s Goodman Gym, as the No. 3 seed behind Carson and North Rowan. The Falcons secured the fourth seed.
DAVIE COUNTY (42) ó N.Jones 13, Neely 8, Key 7, Mayfield 6, Absher 3, Slabach 3, T.Jones 2, Whaley, Simmons, Wilson, Grant.
West ROWAN (61) ó K.Sherrill 21, B.Sherrill 11, Noble 10, Cuthbertson 6, Warren 6, Crucitti 4, Gore 3, Phifer, Phillips, Morgan, Turner, Wood.
Davie Co. 10 10 10 12 ó 42
West Rowan 14 12 18 17 ó 61