Prep Basketball: East Rowan boys 60, Northwest Cabarrus 41

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 9, 2011

By Sean Rinehart
Many things became clear Friday after all the dust settled in a 60-41 East Rowan victory against Northwest Cabarrus, and the most obvious is that this is not the same East basketball team we’ve been seeing in recent seasons.
The Mustangs decided to shed the negative image of the basketball program, and they did so in convincing fashion.
East took the lead from the moment the ball was tipped, and there was no way they were going to give it up.
“I’m lost for words,” said a speechless coach Trey Ledbetter after an intense win. “This is probably the biggest win for the East Rowan basketball program in the past three years.”
Ledbetter was quick to credit his players. They stepped up in a big way.
“This was the players’ win,” he said. “They earned it.”
Jordan Shepherd started things off in a hurry with two quick 3-pointers to give his team a six-point lead within the first 30 seconds.
“Jordan put us on his back tonight for sure,” Ledbetter said.
East was led by the red-hot Shepherd, who shot 8 of 11 from the field, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
He led the Mustangs with a career-high 24 points, and his intensity all night long was contagious.
“As soon as I took the first 3, I really felt confident,” Shepherd said. “We played outstanding defense, too.”
Emotions were running high in the second half. Both schools got after it on the court while student sections were getting after it in the stands.
“I told everyone that we needed to keep our cool,” said Shepherd when asked how he felt his team responded with the intensity picking up late in the game.
Another player who leads by example for the Mustangs is senior Hakeem Gittens. He racked up 11 points in the winning effort and was all smiles after the game.
“The atmosphere got a little intimidating, but we kept our focus on the game,” he said.
Northwest Cabarrus coach Daniel Jenkins was less than thrilled at his team’s effort.
“I’m frustrated,” he said. “It seems like we are wayward souls trying to find our way.”
The Trojans struggled to gain any momentum. As a team, they shot 22 percent — going 12-for-54.
Leading the way for Northwest was Corey Seager with 17 points on 6 for 18 shooting.
“East was intense all night long,” Jenkins said. “We don’t know how to respond yet. We keep taking one step forward and two steps back.”
NORTHWEST CABARRUS (41) — Seager 17, Hagopian 8, Farquharson 7, Edmond 4, Richardson 3, Rohan, Shuffler, King, Metz, Cannady, Suster.
EAST ROWAN (60) — Shepherd 24, Gittens 11, Rogers 11, Hough 7, Holmes 6, L’Hommedieu 1, Honeycutt, Means, Edwards, D. Nelson, Gobble, Bradshaw, B. Nelson.
NWC 13 8 11 9 — 41
E. Rowan 20 9 18 13 — 60