Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 70, Statesville 62

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA — Dashing out of the gym and toward the lobby, West Rowan’s Travis Morgan saved an errant pass over his shoulder.
The blind save found his brother Jarvis in stride, and Jarvis’ thunderous second-quarter dunk ignited the Falcons toward an emotional 70-62 victory over Statesville, certainly the Falcons’ biggest rival in the NPC — and maybe their biggest of all.
“This was about desire and this was about being tired of losing,” said Jarvis Morgan, after the Falcons secured their first win of the season. “Yes, that dunk set the tone, and what better way to get our first win then against Statesville.”
Senior Keshun Sherrill was magnificent for the Falcons, pumping in 32 points and personally stopping a half-dozen runs by the Greyhounds. Twice he climbed into the trees to stick back his own misses. Another time, he ripped down a manly rebound between three Hounds.
“I had confidence in myself tonight, and confidence is all it takes to be a scorer,” Sherrill said quietly. “I let the game come to me better tonight.”
West coach Mike Gurley said Sherrill played like a guy who “no longer had 15-pound sandbags on each shoulder.”
West (1-3) had lost three games to excellent 4A teams, but everything fell in place in the NPC opener.
“This was about three seniors (Sherrill, Jarvis Morgan and Maurice Warren) playing a statement game,” said Gurley, who contributed his first serious fist-pump of the season. “They focused and led the way. Jarvis got way up there for some rebounds. He got as high as I’ve seen anyone in this gym in years.”
The Falcons had their lineup intact for the first time.
Warren returned from a sprained ankle, and his nine points and seven rebounds complemented Jarvis Morgan’s 14 points, 12 boards and several rejections.
“Having Maurice back was huge,” Morgan said. “It took so much pressure off me.”
It was tied at 11 after a quarter. The Morgan-to-Morgan dunk fueled the Falcons to a 30-25 halftime edge. West played zone exclusively, and Statesville made just two 3-pointers in the first half.
“Next time we play them, we’ve got to attack that zone better,” Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said.
Statesville played man-to-man, alternating quick defenders on the crafty Sherrill, now the No. 5 scorer in West history, but he still scored consistently with pullups, drives and free throws.
Sherrill put in eight in the third quarter as the Falcons pushed ahead by as many as 13. A spinning bucket by Jarvis Morgan made it 48-38 heading to the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Greyhounds made a spirited run. They knocked down five 3s in the quarter, three by Jarod Gill, while Nick Schofield was scoring on drives and steals.
West’s lead was reduced to 57-54 when Nick Schofield was tagged with a technical, apparently for taunting after he’d scored. Sherrill made both technical free throws.
A 3-pointer by Gill cut West’s lead to 59-57 with 2:31 left, but Sherrill answered with a pair of clutch pullups to shove the lead back to six.
When Warren drew a charge at the 2:42 mark, it was the fifth foul on Schofield, and the Falcons were headed for victory.
“Two big pluses tonight,” Sherrill said. “We got better, and we got a huge win.”
STATESVILLE (62) — Gill 17, Schofield 15, J. Warren 12, Lowery 7, Gaither 6, Borders 3, Williams 2, Savoy, Thompson,
WEST ROWAN (70) — Sherrill 32, J. Morgan 14, M. Warren 9, Parks 6, Tucker 4, T. Morgan 3, Archie 2, Cuthbertson, Martin, Miller, Reddick.
Statesville 11 14 13 24 — 62
W. Rowan 11 19 18 22 — 70