Prep hoops: Northwest Cabarrus 74, South Rowan 45
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — South Rowan boys basketball coach John Davis figured the only way things could get any worse would be if the Raiders’ activity bus “struck a buffalo on the way home.”
Davis plans to practice after school today — before South takes on A.L. Brown — which gives you an idea how much the Raiders struggled in Northwest Cabarrus’ steamy gym on Monday.
The final was 74-45, and it was worse than it sounds. The hot-shooting Trojans led 24-8 after the first quarter. The other 24 minutes were the equivalent of NBA garbage time.
“Just brutal,” Davis summed up. “I’d prefer a root canal to going through that again. You’re trying to find a rock to crawl under, but you’re in a gym, so there aren’t any rocks.”
Two new faces supplied most of the punch in Northwest’s initial onslaught. Flashy junior Robbie Hagopian filled it up from outside and smooth freshman Derrick Farquharson finished repeatedly around the rim.
“Hagopian (pronounced like it looks) and Farquharson (pronounced like Farkason) are pretty tough names to spell and say,” quipped Northwest coach Daniel Jenkins. “Hopefully, there’s a direct correlation between having a difficult name and having a lot of basketball ability.”
Jenkins was in a somewhat sunnier mood than Davis, but watching your guys bury eight 3s in the first 12 minutes tends to put a smile on your face every time.
“I thought we did a good job of working our offensive inside-out,” Jenkins said. “We were getting good shots — and making them.”
South attacked Northwest’s man-to-man defense hard, but it was almost all one-on-one, with the dribbler trying to get all the way to the rim for a contested, acrobatic finish.
“We want to drive, but we also want to kick out to open shooters off those drives,” Davis said. “We had guys wide open in the corners, but we didn’t make the pass. We’ve got to make the pass.”
Two other things went wrong with South’s drives. Northwest’s E.J. Rhinehart and Joe Richardson are long guys. They blocked a few shots and they altered a lot more. South must have missed two dozen 2-foot shots.
South (0-2) drew a ton of fouls with all those drives, but its free-throw shooting was abysmal.
To be precise, South was 14-for-35. That’s 40 percent on any calculator on the planet. It was a stat that left Davis and assistant Andrew Misenheimer shaking their heads.
When you shoot 35 free throws, you should win every time. Guys like Houston Allen and Josh Medlin did a nice job of getting to the line; they just didn’t cash in.
Medlin finished with 10 points, and he’d be the first to tell you he could’ve scored 25-plus if layups and free throws had fallen.
Northwest’s raucous student section went crazy when Medlin scored to cut the Trojans’ lead to 30-10 a minute into the second quarter. “Hey, double digits!” they cheerfully screamed at the Raiders.
After its flawless first quarter, Northwest (1-1) didn’t exactly scintillate in the second period, but it still took a secure 43-22 to the locker room
“Everything came so easy early that we stopped working as hard,” Jenkins said. “But we got back on track in the third quarter.”
With Corey Seager (16 points) sizzling, NWC started the second half on a 9-0 blitz to go up by 30. After that, it was just a matter of how bad it would get and whether or not Davis could find that rock he was searching for.
Davis’ list of things South did poorly was at least as long as Santa’s list of good little boys and girls.
“We didn’t shoot well, we didn’t dribble well, we didn’t protect the ball well, we didn’t rebound well, we didn’t pass well, and we didn’t defend well,” he said.
That’s about everything.
“The only positive,” he added, “was that we got through 32 minutes without anyone getting hurt.”
Assuming South’s bus avoided buffaloes, the Raiders get a chance to redeem themselves tonight at A.L. Brown.
“We’re gonna play the guys who will pass to set up their teammates,” Davis said.
SOUTH ROWAN (45) — Medlin 10, Allen 8, Parker 5, Spry 5, Buchanan 5, Lambert 4, Tyler 3, Neal 3, Sherrill 2, Ouellette,
NORTHWEST CABARRUS (74) — Hagopian 17, Seager 16, Farquharson 13, Cannaday 8, Edmond 7, Richardson 4, Shuffler 4, Rhinehart 2, Metz 2, King 1, Rohan, Sustar.
South 8 14 10 13 — 45
NWC 24 19 18 13 — 74