Prep Basketball: A.L. Brown boys 51, South Rowan 50
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — South Rowan’s miserable 74-45 loss to Northwest Cabarrus on Monday was one of the low points of John Davis’ 13 years as the Raiders’ head coach.
South found redemption on Tuesday, but not victory. The Raiders fell to A.L. Brown 51-50 at Bullock Gym.
“I woke up at 2 in the morning and then I woke up again at 3 and then at 4 thinking about how bad we were,” Davis said. “It bothers you, but thank goodness this isn’t football, and you don’t have to wait a whole week to play again. I can’t fault our kids’ effort in any way tonight. We were a much different basketball team.”
A much better basketball team.
The Raiders, who missed 21 free throws on Monday, did pushups to compensate for all of them. Duly chastised, they went out and shot 11-for-12 from the foul line against the Wonders in the first half.
Post man Houston Allen led the Raiders with 16 points, while guards Shawn Spry (12) and Qua Neal (10) also reached double figures.
Tevin Starks took the game on his shoulders in the fourth quarter for the Wonders who were playing their first game. He scored 23 points.
Braxton Waddell added 13 for Brown, mostly on the strength of a flurry late in the first half.
It was clear early South wouldn’t go through the motions two nights in a row. Nathan Lambert and Josh Medlin were on the floor taking charges in the opening minutes, and a fired-up Davis had his team equally energized.
Raiders were high-fiving and pointing thank-you fingers at one another after assists and Davis was pounding the air with both fists.
“We came here to play our hearts out,” Spry said. “We picked it up in a lot of ways. We made free throws. We fed the post better. We just played together a lot better.”
South led 15-11 after a quarter and was ahead 26-18 after a coast-to-coast drive by Spry with 3:04 left in the first half.
“We couldn’t get into an offensive flow, couldn’t knock down shots and guys got frustrated,” A.L. Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz said. “We’ve got to learn to play through the tough times better than that.”
Momentum started swinging toward the Wonders when Starks made an explosive move inside that drew the third foul on Allen. South’s big man getting in foul trouble hurt, but Davis liked the resistance Allen offered.
“There have been times in the past we would have just let the kid dunk the ball on us,” Davis said. “But I thought we challenged everything inside tonight. Allen and Lambert fought on every possession.”
It appeared South might lead at halftime, but Waddell’s back-to-back 3s gave the Wonders a 32-30 edge at the break.
The third quarter was ugly. South shot 3-for-13. Brown shot 2-for-8 and turned it over six times. The Wonders led 39-36 heading to the final quarter.
Starks’ two fourth-quarter 3s proved pivotal. The first turned a 41-40 deficit into a 43-41 lead with 5:22 left. At the 4:22 mark, he snapped a 43-all tie with his second one.
After Derrick Copeland put Brown ahead 51-48 with two clutch free throws with 15 seconds left, Spry drove the length of the court for a contested layup and appeared to draw contact, but he didn’t get the whistle and South trailed 51-50 with 3.8 seconds left.
Next, Copeland missed the front of a one-and-one, but Neal could only get off a desperate 40-foot heave at the horn, and Brown survived.
SOUTH ROWAN (50) — Allen 16, Spry 12, Neal 10, Lambert 6, Medlin 4, Buchanan 2, Parker, Tyler, Sherrill, Goodman, Washington, Ouellette.
A.L. BROWN (51) — Starks 23, Waddell 13, Copeland 6, Carr 5, Howie 2, Moss 2, Addison, Shepard, Morrison, Rice.
S. Rowan 15 15 6 14 — 50
A.L. Brown 11 21 7 12 — 51
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