High school hoops hit homestretch
By Mike London
Prep hoops roundup …
With just about every school in the area frantically cramming makeup games into packed schedules that no longer resemble the sane ones that were drawn up prior to the season, Albemarle boys basketball coach Al Andrew put things in perspective on Friday,
“We’re not even playing an NBA schedule now — we’re playing a Major League Baseball schedule,” a drained Andrew said. “The hardest part for these kids isn’t physical — they’re 16, 17 years old. But mentally, it’s tough for them to be sharp when you’re playing every night.”
When the Bulldogs came out on the short end of their 34-28 chess match at North Rowan on Friday, they were in the midst of playing four games in five days.
They got zero sympathy from the Cavaliers, who played YVC games on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week — yes, back-to-back-to-back-to-back — to catch up with contests postponed by weather issues or by rescheduled exams.
North wasn’t as efficient offensively as it usually is, but it won with stifling defense, allowing 40, 33, 28 and 20 points in those four games. Even taking into account that there was some cat-and-mouse in the Albemarle game, that’s pretty remarkable defense.
“In the first half, North made us look like we’d never practiced,” Andrew said. “They’re really good.”
• In the spread-out YVC, the busy schedule has been especially tough — with 16 league games to play and with grueling road trips that might require two hours.
Mental fatigue may have been a factor in Albemarle’s girls losing for the first time in the YVC to East Montgomery in Biscoe on Saturday.
Believe it or not, Albemarle plays again tonight. At least, the Bulldogs are at home this time.
• North’s boys are 11-0 in the YVC and are now 27-1 in league games since dropping down to 1A.
The lone loss was to Albemarle in North’s gym last season.
• North’s boys and Salisbury’s boys and girls emerged from last week’s flurry of games firmly in the driver’s seat to win conference championships, although there’s still a lot of basketball to be played.
• Carson’s girls continue to lurk just one game behind North Iredell in the NPC standings. Carson will be an underdog at home against top-ranked NI on Tuesday, but the Cougars have a chance. An upset would almost surely give them a co-championship.
North Iredell rolled 66-48 when the teams met in Olin.
• West Rowan’s boys also have climbed back into contention to share a title. They’re one game back of top dog Statesville, which comes to Mount Ulla on Tuesday.
The Greyhounds smacked the Falcons 67-49 when the teams met in Statesville in December, but West has improved considerably.
Keshun Sherrill has a lot more help now. Football players B.J. Sherrill and Jarvis Morgan are now playing very solid basketball.
• South Rowan’s girls are only 6-10, but they have quietly put themselves in position to finish in the top four in the NPC. That would mean a playoff berth. If the Raiders can finish a sweep of West Iredell on Tuesday, they’ll be in great shape.