Prep Basketball: Statesville boys 63, East Rowan 38
By David Shaw
STATESVILLE ó Trey Ledbetter continues to see the good side of bad.
East Rowanís first-year coach may still be kicking the tires after 15 losses in 16 games, but his psyche remains intact.
ěIím not frustrated at all as a coach,î Ledbetter said Friday night, moments after the Mustangs were leveled 63-38 at Statesville. ěThe fight in our kids is tremendous. Theyíve given 100 percent every game ó and thatís all you can ask for. We donít give up until the horn sounds.î
It may as well have sounded after the first quarter. By then the NPC-leading Greyhounds had raced to a 12-2 lead and were on their way to their eighth straight conference victory.
ěTheyíre just so quick,î junior Cole Honeycutt said after East fell to 1-7 in league play. ěTheyíre definitely the quickest team weíve played. In the first half they were skying for every rebound and didnít score from anywhere but in the paint.î
Honeycutt topped the Mustangs with a season-high 11 points and teammate Weston Rogers added 10. The game wasnít a bonafide blowout until the middle of final period, when sophomore Josh Gaither made a three-point play to give Statesville (13-3, 8-0) a 58-35 lead. But thatís not what had winning coach Sonny Schofield wearing a post-game smile.
ěI was able to play everybody tonight,î he said while sorting laundry in the gymnasium basement. ěI canít remember the last time I was able to get all 13 in the game.î
Nine of them got into the scoring column, led by Gaitherís 22 points.
ěJosh is very consistent, very level-headed,î Schofield said. ěHe doesnít get frustrated at all.î
Including when Statesville missed its first seven free throws. East failed to capitalize, largely because it finished with only 15 baskets and didnít score until Jared Hough hit a layup with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
ěWeíve got to learn not to get flustered when our shots arenít falling early,î said Ledbetter. ěWe end up digging ourselves a hole. When that happens itís hard for us to climb out of it.î
East trailed 36-19 at the half, then watched Statesville open the third period with a 7-0 scoring spree. ěThe pressure was the fast pace,î said Rogers. ěAnd when they had open shots, they hit them.î
The Mustangs later put together an impressive run against Statesvilleís second string when they scored 10 straight points and drew within 48-33 early in the fourth quarter. ěWe cut into it a little bit,î Ledbetter said. ěBut like I said, you spot ëem so many points, itís tough to come back.î
The rally began with Jordan Shepherdís 3-pointer from the top of the wheel and closed when Rogers angled into the lane for an unguarded layup.
Honeycutt notched Eastís final field goal ó a short, pull-up jumper from the right side with 6:22 to play. Down the stretch the Mustangs took an oh-for from the field while converting three of five free throws.
ěWe were right there, ready to close in,î Honeycutt said. ěBut I guess we lost it.î
Schofield, for one, thinks the Mustangs are galloping in the right direction. ěIíll tell you the truth,î he said. ěThey ran their offense well. They got us that way at their place (in a 69-62 Statesville win Dec. 17). Theyíre patient on defense and play good 5-on-5 basketball.î
Problem was, this rarely looked like 5-on-5. ěWe were running back on defense,î Ledbetted explained, ěand they had three guys down there before we had one guy back. They were that fast.î
When it was over ó and East had suffered its third straight defeat ó Honeycutt offered a positive spin.
ěThis definitely helps us move toward the direction we want to be in,î he said. ěBut for now weíve just got to take our medicine and get ready for the next one.î
NOTES: ERís Avery Rogers, the sniper who has cracked double figures seven times this season, was held scoreless. … East visits North Iredell on Wednesday.
EAST ROWAN 38) ó Honeycutt 11, W.Rogers 10, Hough 6, Driver 5, Shepherd 3, Gittens 2, Holmes 1, Galloway, A.Rogers, Owens, Oglesby, Gobble.
STATESVILLE (63) ó Gaither 22, Schofield 11, Warren 10, Lowery 5, Willis 4, Tucker 4, Knox 3, Gill 2, Boulware 2.
E. Rowan 2 17 12 7 ó 38
Statesville 12 24 12 15 ó 63