Moir Christmas Classic: West Rowan boys 68, Salisbury 59
By Jordan Honeycutt
SALISBURY — How many different ways can one basketball team defeat another? Just ask West Rowan coach Mike Gurley about Salisbury.
Gurley’s Falcons were victorious over the Hornets for the third time this season 68-59, in the first round of the annual Moir Classic.
“Coach Causby and I have used multiple strategies against each other all year,” Gurley said.
A strategy that proved ingenious for West was defensive pressure the length of the court against the athletic and larger Hornets.
Gurley’s?Falcons were victorious over the Hornets 68-59, in the first round of the annual Moir Classic at Catawba College.
West has played Salisbury three times already in the young season and the Falcons have won all of them.
But it looked like Salisbury was ready to win one early. Behind the girth and height of center Tony Nunn, Salisbury jumped out to an 11-2 lead before Gurley rallied the troops and put the strategy in motion.
Once West turned up the heat defensively, Salisbury began to wilt and self-destruct.
The Hornets began to close the gap and make an inspiring run even cutting the game back to within two, but could never regain a lead.
Down the stretch, West played keep-away and the Hornets launched some ill-advised and [0x13]errant threes. They were forced to foul Keshun Sherrill, which in this case meant game over.
“They changed it up on us defensively and they did it well, but we could have done things better,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “I saw a lot of things that we did better and though you never like losing, I am seeing progress, which is good.
Sherrill’s star once again shone as bright as usual. He scored 21 points and orchestrated the offense and defensive pressure like a true maestro.
What ultimately doomed Salisbury was going 10-for-23 for the free throw line and committing 17 turnovers.
“Those killed us, they did,” Causby said. “We have to get better in these areas before conference play and we will improve. It’s still early.”
A visibly frustrated Nunn was surrounded by athletic Falcon forwards Jarvis Morgan, Maurice Warren and Travis Morgan.
All of Nunn’s nine points came from the foul line and on putbacks as the aforementioned trio denied and deflected post entries all game.
Warren also scored 12 points and Devin Parks added 11, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
“These kids have just worked very hard and bought in completely as far as knowing and accepting their individual roles on this team,” Gurley said.
Warren has been perhaps the most improved player on West’s squad, stepping into the spot of graduated B.J. Sherrill. He has picked up his numbers, including adding tremendous defense.
“Maurice has been has an entirely different player this year for us,” Gurley said. “Sometimes you think, ‘Who is that guy out there?’ but he has been a huge lift for us all year and I’m excited to see him keep it up.”
The Falcons now sail into familiar Moir waters, as they advance to today’s winner’s bracket to take on mighty Davie County, who thumped the Falcons in their last meeting.
“Our guys will be ready, but that is a tremendous Davie team that we are taking on,” Gurley said.
NOTE: Leading the benign Hornet offense was guard D.J. Griffin with 13 and Tion McCain with 12.
SALISBURY (59) — Griffin 13, McCain 12, Nunn 9, S. Hillie 7, Duncan 6, Woods 5, T.Petty 4, Adams 3, Finger, Robertson, Tracey
WEST ROWAN (68) — Sherrill 21, Warren 12, Parks 11, J. Morgan 7, Martin 7, Reddick 3, Archie 2, T. Morgan 2, Cuthbertson 2, Tucker 1, Gallagher, Hassard, Long, Blackwood.
Salisbury 20 15 13 11 — 59
W. Rowan 24 20 08 16 — 68