Moir Christmas Classic Semifinals: North Rowan boys 53, East Rowan 38
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Just like the carriage turned into a pumpkin, North Rowan’s Pierre Givens turned into the holiday scrooge that ended East Rowan’s December run.
The senior guard scored a game-high 21 points and pumped in five 3-pointers in the first half to jump the Cavaliers out to a 13-point lead at halftime and North hung on in a 53-38 win against East Rowan in the semifinals of the Moir Christmas Classic.
“Pierre was just lights out in the first half,” East coach Trey Ledbetter said. “We really had no answer. We threw several different defenses at him and he put the ball in the hoop.”
Givens earned 19 points in the first half and matched East at the end of the first quarter with 11. The third 3-ball of the night for Givens gave North (8-2) a 12-9 lead, one it never lost.
“We got a lot of ballplayers out there that go out and score,” Givens said. “I guess this afternoon was my afternoon.”
Givens ended up 7 of 14 from the field and 5 of 6 from behind the arc, hitting all five 3’s in the first half.
The Cavs take on an impressive, yet shorthanded Davie tonight at 8 for the championship. After dropping two straight entering the Moir, North reminded everyone of its state-title defense. The Cavs were the only county team to start the tournament 2-0.
“I thought for 32 minutes we had supreme focus,” North coach Andrew Mitchell said. “Everybody contributed to this one.”
Hakeem Gittens hit a runner to pull the Mustangs within 38-35 with 5:40 to go, but North scored the next 11 points and East’s seven-game win streak came to an end.
“We believe we can play with anybody in the state and we proved that tonight,” Ledbetter said. “The kids, you can’t fault their effort. We just didn’t shoot well in the first half.”
East (8-5) had its streak snapped thanks in part to another five-point quarter. The Mustangs scored five in the third quarter against Carson Tuesday and duplicated that in the second quarter against North. East went 2 for 8 at the foul line.
East shot 52.9 percent (9 for 17) in the second half, a vast improvement against the 28.6 percent (6 for 21) in the first half.
“We played really well tonight,” Ledbetter said. “We came out and started shooting it really well in the third quarter. It’s just their pressure was relentless in the end. We had four turnovers there in the fourth quarter and they had to equal points for them.”
The Mustangs will face West Rowan, who fell 70-66 to Davie, today at 4:30 p.m. for third place.
Michael Bowman added 14 points for the Cavs, who are shooting for their first Moir title since 2000. Malik Ford was the Cavs’ leading rebounder with seven boards. North outrebounded East 29-21 and outscored the Mustangs 28-16 in the paint.
“We have so many scorers that if you start looking for everybody to get 20, there’s not enough minutes and enough balls to do that,” Mitchell said. “We want to put the pedal to the metal on defense.”
North led 14-13 early and got distance with a 14-0 run, which included two treys from Givens. Jordan Shepherd added a 3 before halftime and Roby Holmes hit a free throw for a 29-16 score at the break.
Jordan Kimber put North up 38-28 with a 3 before Weston Rogers hit an open trey from the corner at the end of the third quarter to put East down seven entering the fourth.
After Gittens made it a one-possession game, North got a pair of free throws and forced a turnover. Bowman scored back-to-back 3-point plays to make it 46-35.
EAST ROWAN (38) — Hough 10, Shepherd 10, Gittens 5, Rogers 5, Means 3, L’Hommedieu 2, Gobble, Honeycutt
NORTH ROWAN (53) — Givens 21, Bowman 14, Kimber 6, Connor 4, West 4, Chambers 2, Ford 2, Kelly, Barber, Watlington.
E. Rowan 11 5 15 7 — 38
N. Rowan 14 15 9 15 — 53