Prep Basketball: West Rowan 57, North Iredell 43
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA — Crazy as it sounds, Domonique Noble, who scored two points, may have been the key guy in West Rowan’s 57-43 NPC win against North Iredell on Saturday.
Noble, an All-State football hero, is finally back on the basketball court after playing in the Shrine Bowl and dealing with knee issues. His tenacity was extremely helpful as West claimed must-win, homecourt victories back-to-back. The Falcons handled South Rowan on Friday.
“Domonique is important for this team’s psyche,” West coach Mike Gurley said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have been looking forward to playing with him for a long time. No, he’s not 100 percent, but he’s come back to play hard for them. They know he’s being a warrior out there.”
West (7-9, 5-1) stayed in hot pursuit of unbeaten Statesville in the NPC race. Keshun Sherrill, who returned from a torn hip tendon on Friday, scored 16 points. B.J. Sherrill, who swished 3-pointers to open both halves, scored 12. Jarvis Morgan contributed 10.
“Keshun is hard to stop, and even though we did a pretty decent job containing him, West had a lot of other guys that contributed,” said North Iredell coach Tony Davenport.
B.J. Sherrill knocked down a 3-pointer just seconds into the contest.
“We had a play drawn up off the tip for me to post up, but they had a big guy in the lane, so I just went out to the corner and Keshun found me,” he explained.
West owned a quick 8-0 cushion after Morgan drained a pullup and Keshun Sherrill nailed a 3. North Iredell spent the rest of the night trying to come back, and it wasn’t easy to rally against a team that shot 10-for-11 from the foul line.
West shot a sizzling 57 percent in the first quarter, even with Keshun Sherrill missing some shots he’ll normally make.
Then West’s defense stifled the Raiders (5-8, 2-3) in the second quarter, holding them to 4-for-15 shooting.
Buckets by reserves Broderick Avery and Devin Parks helped the Falcons take a 34-20 lead at halftime.
“When it was just 22-18, those two helped us stretch it out,” Gurley said.
West is playing a lot of 1-2-2 zone these days. Gurley jokes that the 1-2-2 is “man-to-man’s ugly sister,” but it’s been a very effective defense for the Falcons.
“Keshun is quick at the top, and then Domonique and Jarvis have such wide wingspans that teams aren’t getting the ball inside against us as much,” B.J. Sherrill said. “Having Domonique back out there really helps us out a lot.”
When Noble made a steal and hit ahead to Keshun Sherrill for a layup midway through the third quarter, the Falcons led 41-26, and North Iredell never again cut the lead under 10 points.
“The last time we played was against Statesville and we played very well, but that was two weeks ago,” Davenport said. “I think we were really sluggish from the long layoff and never got in sync, but that’s not to take anything away from West. They played well and they played hard. Defensively, they pushed us out of doing the things we wanted to do.”
Left-handed guard Ty Johnson led the Raiders with 12 points.
“North Iredell’s guards are good, and they’re a solid team,” Gurley said. “I think we were pretty lucky today that we got a very good collective effort, especially on the defensive end. We were bending our legs, rotating, sliding, moving our feet.”
Noble’s presence could be felt.
“It seems ike our desire to play hard on defense has gone up the last few games,” he said with a smile. “If I’m inspiring people by playing as hard as I do, that’s great. I’m feeling better every day, and it feels good to be part of this team again.”
NORTH IREDELL (43)— Johnson 12, Hunt 8, Moore 6, St. John 6, Nolen 4, McNeely 3, Laws 2, Holland 2, Brown, Phares.
WEST ROWAN (57) — K. Sherrill 16, B. Sherrill 12, Morgan 10, Parks 7, Warren 6, Turner 2, Avery 2, Noble 2, Edwards, Martin, Laster, Phifer, Cuthbertson, Kraft.
N. Iredell 12 8 11 12 — 43
W. Rowan 20 14 9 14 — 57