Statesville boys 61, South Rowan 48
By Ryan Bisesi
STATESVILLE — Statesville attempted to draw South Rowan into a lull on two occasions Wednesday night.
All it did was alert the Raiders to just how good their hosts were in a 61-48 Statesville win at Sampsel Gym.
A pair of two-minute sessions of dribbling the ball at halfcourt intended to draw the Raiders out of the 2-3 zone defense with their discipline failing to bite. However, Nick Schofield and Josh Gaither gave South enough fits as they combined for 45 of Statesville’s points in the Greyhounds’ seventh-straight win.
The victory kept Statesville unbeaten in 3-A North Piedmont Conference play and a game in front of West Rowan for first place. South is still longing for its first conference triumph after playing to the level of Statesville, but unable to ascend above it.
“(Statesville coach Sonny Schofield)’s got a real good basketball team,” South coach John Davis said. “When you give a team like this opportunities, they’re going to capitalize on them. They hit the shots they needed to hit and we missed some easy ones around the basket and they add up on you.”
The Raiders hung around for the majority of action, trailing 16-10 after a quarter and 28-22 at the half.
After South’s Qua Neal hit a layup to pull the Raiders within 16-12 at the start of the second quarter, Statesville payed its first tribute to Dean Smith’s four corners on the ensuing possession before calling timeout.
“I was mad,” said South’s Jonathon Gaddy, who lead his team with 23 points scored. “I was like ‘come on coach, we’re losing.’ Coach just said to stay right there and wait ‘til they attack.”
Eric Tyler drained a 3 shortly after to pull South (3-13, 0-6 NP) within one, but the Raiders drew no closer to taking the lead. Statesville hit consecutive 3s from Jaquan Warren and Gaither to stretch the lead back out.
Junior Nick Schofield led all scorers with 25 points while Gaither, a sophomore, dropped 20 for Statesville (12-3, 7-0 NP).
“They get most of the looks,” Sonny Schofield said. “They are consistent scorers, but everybody else gets an equal amount of shots.”
South opened the second half with a steal and layup off the inbounds pass from Nathan Lambert and South took a charge to start the half’s first 18 seconds.
Statesville went on another run, scoring six of the next eight to keep their guests at bay.
“That’s been the story of our season,” Davis said. “We’ve been close on a lot of occasions and a lot of times, we play to the level of our competition.”
South’s final turn knocking at the door came late in the third quarter after Statesville’s second time running stall ball. Josh Medlin hit a layup and Gaddy drained a jumper to cut the deficit to 38-32. After Statesville scored a deuce before halftime, Marquis Willis converted a layup while being fouled and Nick Schofield drained a 22-footer to ignite the Greyhound fans and force Davis to call timeout. It wouldn’t help, though, as Schofield rattled off Statesville’s next eight points for a 50-36 lead with 6:08 left. South left impressed with Schofield, who along with Gaither, were the key to Statesville’s ignition.
“Number 20…he’s pretty good,” said Gaddy of Schofield.
Medlin and Neal offered six points each for the Raiders.
“We thought we dictated the tempo of the game and when they wanted to hold the ball, that was fine with us,” Davis said.
SOUTH ROWAN (48)— Gaddy 23, Medlin 6, Neal 6, Lambert 5, Akers 3, Tyler 3, McDaniel 2, Boulware, Sharpe, Parker.
STATESVILLE (61) — Schofield 25, Gaither 20, Willis 6, Warren 5, Tucker 3, Watlington 2, Lowery, Knox, Felts, Borders, Gill.
S. Rowan 10 12 10 16 — 48
Statesville 16 12 12 21 — 61