Farewell to 2010: The top games

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2011

By Mike London
Picking 20 memorable games out of an athletic calendar year is never easy, but thatís especially true this year, with state titles all over the place. These 20 gamesó actually 19 games and one meet ó stood out for the impact, the emotion, the performances ó or all three.
20. The Alicia Turner Game
Jan. 15, 2010, girls basketball
West Rowan beat Statesville 66-64 for the programís biggest win in quite a while. Turner, who scored 21 points all season, delivered the winning free throws.
19. The Time Machine
Feb. 16, 2010, boys basketball
North Rowan scrapping against physical Albemarle in the Bulldogsí claustrophobic gym had a very 1990s feel to it. It was one of the last games of coach Kelly Everhartís classy 12-season tenure, and North won it 65-56. The Cavs already owned the YVC title, but this one meant bragging rights.
18. The Shoeless Game
May 12, 2010, softball
Carsonís 6-4 win against North Iredell in an NPC tournament semifinals was the Cougarsí best softball win ever.
Marissa Sellers lost a shoe as she raced to first base, beating out an infield hit while two Cougars scored to send the game to extra innings.
17. The Run
March 13, 2010, girls basketball
East Bladen hung with Salisburyís girls for a half in the 2A championship game in Raleigh, but the Hornetsí backbreaking run in the third quarter was wicked. The defensive-minded final was 49-37.
16. Backs to the wall
July 6, 2010, Legion baseball
Rowan Countyís season appeared over after an 11-0 Game 2 loss to Mooresville for a two games to none deficit in a best-of-five playoff series.
Facing elimination at Newman park, Zach Smith hit two homers to lead a 21-11 victory, and momentum helped Rowan take the next two.
15. The Breakthrough
Sept. 3, 2010, football
Shaun Warren rushed for 300 yards and Carson showed it had become a very good team with a 42-27 win against future 2A champ Salisbury.
14. The Sigh of relief
May 28, 2010, softball
East Rowanís Chelsea White pitched a one-hitter to beat Robinson 2-0, and the Mustangs qualified for the Final Four for the first time since 1996.
13. It ainít over til …
July 11, 2010, Legion baseball
Rowan County trailed powerful Western Forsyth 8-4 in the seventh at Newman Park in the third round of the playoffs, but won 11-10 on Zach Smithís two-run single in the ninth.
12. The Duel
April 16, 2010, baseball
West Rowanís D.J. Webb and Carsonís Jesse Park, two little guys specializing in location and heart, chose the same night to pitch the best game of their career.
Carson won 3-2 in nine innings. Both hurlers went the distance.
Park had another amazing moment in the playoffs, taking a wicked line drive off his leg and still teaming with Ethan Free to hurl Carsonís first playoff win ever at Marvin Ridge.
11. The MLK Game
Jan. 18, 2010, boys basketball
It was a non-conference game played on a Monday, but it may have been the best basketball game a county team was involved in all year.
West coach Mike Gurley took his team back to Lexington, where it all started for him as a head coach. West won 72-68, surviving a struggle more physical than some boxing matches.10. The Upset
March 17, 2010, baseball
On paper, North Rowan probably didnít belong on the field with Carson.
But thereís a reason you play the games. For two hours, the Cavs were the better team. Pitcher Josh Price and catcher Wes Barker were close to perfect, and North won 2-1.
9. The Swing
June 21, 2010, Legion baseball
South Legion star Gunnar Hoganís socked a three-run, game-tying homer in the seventh against Mooresville fireballer Chris Dula to provide one of the more electric moments in program history. Undaunted, Dula came back to strike out Hogan on a fastball with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Mooresville won 10-9.8. Moir Madness
Dec. 29, 2010, boys basketball
Salisburyís 79-77 overtime win against North in the semifinals was the best game of a good tournament.
7. The Comeback
May 27, 2010, HS baseball
Down 3-0 in the fifth, East Rowan surged past Tuscola 5-3 in the pivotal first game of the best-of-three 3A Western Championship series.
Will Sapp, who would go on to earn state MVP honors, knocked in the tying run and made a remarkable leaping catch in center at Staton Field.
6. Ice Water
January 8, 2010, boys basketball
Nick Houstonís free throws with less than a second left on the clock gave Carson a wild 77-76 overtime victory at West Rowan.
5. The Tackle
Oct. 29, 2010, football
Salisbury linebacker Kavari Hillie made a game-saving tackle in the final seconds of a 10-7 victory against Thomasville that gave the Hornets the CCC title. Romar Morris broke an 80-yard run and David Simons kicked a PAT and a field goal in the first half. After that, the Hornets hung on.
4. The Relay
May 26, 2010, HS baseball
East Rowan beat Northwest Cabarrus 2-1 in the fourth round of the 3A playoffs. Andy Austin hit a tiebreaking homer, Parker Gobbel and Will Johnson pitched lights out, and East executed a memorable relay when Tanner Blackís single skipped past right fielder Wesley LeRoy in the seventh inning and he tried to make it all the way to third.
Center fielder Will Sapp and shortstop Preston Troutman made perfect relay throws and third baseman Noah Holmes made a textbook tag to erase the tying run from the bases.
Eastís win ended with Northwest slugger Corey Seager, who may be the top high school hitter in the Class of 2012, standing in the on-deck circle.
That remarkable play summed up what the pitching-and-defense 3A champions were all about.
3. The Streak
Dec. 3, 2010, football
West owns a 46-game winning streak and three straight 3A state titles, but it had a fight on its hands with Hibriten in the Western final.
West trailed 7-0 and 14-6, but it took charge in the fourth quarter to win 20-14.
With the Falcons trailing 14-12, B.J. Sherrillís TD pass to Jamarian Mabry with 5:10 remaining provided the winning points. Westís victory over Eastern Alamance in the state title game was far easier, even with Sherrill sustaining a concussion.
2. The Bang-Bang
Dec. 3, 2010, football
With eight minutes left, Salisbury trailed visiting Shelby 14-0 in the 2AA Western final at Ludwig Stadium.
By the time the scoreboard ticked to zeroes, the Hornets were celebrating John Knox TD passes to Keion Adams, Romar Morris and Dominique Dusmuke and a 21-14 win that would lead to a state title.
David Simons had a a huge onside kick recovery, and the Hornetsí defense got the stops it had to get.
Salisbury had come back from huge deficits twice in earlier games, rallying to beat Central Davidson and Berry in dramatic fashion.
1. Patrick Snider and Big Daddy
March 27, 2010, baseball
May 15, 2010, track and field
When old rivals Salisbury and North Rowan competed in baseball at Newman Park in a ěPlaying for Patrickî fundraising contest, there were all kinds of alumni stars and all kinds of goodwill directed at Northís ailing pitcher, who was losing his battle with cancer physically, but winning it in a hundred other ways.
Sniderís No. 7 jerseys were everywhere. There were redheaded 7s, and there were bald 7s.
East assistant track coach Jamey ěBig Daddyî Ledbetter also was a victim of cancer in 2010, but his fight with the disease energized an entire track program, as Eastís boys claimed victories in the county and NPC meets. Their greatest moment of all came when they tied A.L. Brown for a regional title. Eastís final points came on a refuse-to-lose sprint by 4×400 anchorman Joseph Furtado.