West Rowan boys 83, West Iredell 73
By Mike London
STATESVILLE — West Rowan’s B.J. Sherill was so certain that teammate Keshun Sherrill’s jumper was going in the hole at the end of regulation that he spun around to celebrate.
The shot didn’t fall, the score stayed tied, and B.J. was hurting after his jaw banged into teammate Maurice Warren’s shoulder.
Fortunately for the Falcons, the aggressive Warren also hurt West Iredell. His overtime hustle led to the biggest bucket of the night and keyed a wild 83-73 win over the homestanding Warriors (8-8, 3-4 NPC).
It was a special game because of Keshun Sherrill, who scored a career-best 37 points, and West Iredell gunslinger Jalen Gray, who was unbelievable. Scoreless in the first quarter, Gray finished with eight 3s and 32 points.
“My hat is off right now to Jalen,” said West Rowan forward Jarvis Morgan, who had a career-best 18 points and his first two-dunk night. “West Iredell played their hearts out. We punched them hard, but they didn’t quit.”
Keshun Sherrill threw the early jabs. He came out of the gate smoking. Barely two minutes into the game, he had 11 points. WR led 12-4, and Warriors coach Benjamin Johnson burned a timeout.
“I had a good warmup, got a good sweat going,” Keshun Sherrill said. “They were giving me the jumper, and I was taking them.”
West Rowan (8-9, 6-1) stayed in control after a quarter and led by double digits in the second. But then Gray finally sank his first shot with 6:17 left in the half, and the game was never the same.
“Jalen’s one of the guys I really respect,” Keshun Sherrill said. “When you have confidence like he does, you can pull it from halfcourt.”
West Rowan led 37-29 at halftime, but everyone could sense it might get interesting — WR coach Mike Gurley included.
“We never have an easy one up here,” he said. “Maybe we relaxed a little bit in the second quarter and then you could see West Iredell’s confidence starting to swell. By the third quarter, they were an offensive juggernaut.”
Gray’s third quarter had to be seen to be believed. He drilled seven shots, and five were 3s. Two came from 30 feet, and West Rowan, which had lost defensive stopper Domonique Noble to a turned ankle, couldn’t cool him off.
Gray keyed a 32-point third quarter, and the Warriors not only caught up, they took a 61-59 lead.
The pace slowed in the fourth quarter, with both teams looking for great shots and defenses digging in.
Fouls were huge. West Iredell lost shotblocker Matt Harris with five fouls when he tried to reject Keshun Sherrill with 4:03 left, and the Warriors lost scorer Zach Follrod when he was called for his fifth on Morgan’s drive to the rim with 1:26 left.
Morgan hit one free throw for a 70-68 West Rowan lead, but with 59 seconds left, Morgan gambled on a steal, and Gray saw daylight. He buried one more jumper to tie it.
Keshun Sherrill missed a contested jumper with 35 seconds left, and he was called for a foul with 11 seconds trying to help double-team Gray.
When Gray missed the front end of a one-and-one to everyone’s astonishment, Morgan grabbed the board.
Then Keshun Sherrill missed his jumper at the end of regulation on which Warren and B.J. Sherrill collided.
“Missed a shot to win the game, but next-play mentality,” Keshun Sherrill said. “We came out in the overtime determined.”
Freshman Devin Parks was fouled 30 seconds into the overtime. He made his first free throw to give WR the lead. He missed the second, but a battling Warren kept the ball alive. Parks stuck it in for a 73-70 lead.
B.J. Sherrill scored in the lane for 75-70, and he dominated the glass, along with Warren and Morgan as the Falcons pulled away.
“Rebounding was key in the second half,” Gurley said. “Once they finally cooled off, we got those tough boards.”
WEST ROWAN (83)— K. Sherrill 37, Morgan 18, B. Sherrill 12, Parks 7, Turner 4, Warren 3, Noble 2, Laster, Kraft, Avery, Edwards, Martin, Cuthbertson.
WEST IREDELL (73) — J. Gray 32, Follrod 12, Gibbs 10, Phifer 6, Daniels 4, Harris 4, Stevenson 3, Ellis 2, Blohm.
W. Rowan 22 15 22 11 13 — 83
W. Iredell 11 18 32 9 3 — 73