Prep Basketball: West Rowan boys 73, Carson 48
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan’s student section exited as a unified group with two minutes left in Friday’s game, like they all had a plane to catch.
They left a gaping vacancy in the bleachers, but it was the right move. All the excitement had been drained from this NPC snoozer by an 18-0 run by the Falcons in the first half.
West’s 73-48 victory was mostly an unsightly festival of fouls, with officials whistling 52 in all.
“I don’t know how many fouls were called,” said Carson coach Brian Perry. “I just know there were probably a few more called on us and that West did a lot better job of making foul shots than we did.”
West (8-6, 4-1), which stayed in the thick of the NPC race, shot a glowing 15-for-18 from the stripe in the first half and cruised to a 44-21 lead at the break.
“The focus was on our defense,” West star Keshun Sherrill said. “We played good ‘D’ from the jump.”
Carson (5-11, 1-4) has prolific scorers in sophomores Tre Williams and Colton Laws, but neither really got going. Williams shot 2-for-8 from the floor, while Laws was 2-for-9. Myquon Stout, another soph, pulled down 10 boards for the Cougars, but it was hard for the burly youngster to finish inside with Jarvis Morgan flying around.
“We came ready to play defense,” Morgan said. “Coach (Mike) Gurley is always a defense-first guy, and that’s we emphasized.”
Sherrill scored a quiet 21 that included 10-for-10 foul shooting. He bumped his career total to 1,599.
Morgan contributed a very loud 19 that included a one-handed slam and a two-handed throw-down.
“Gurley has been talking to me about running the floor harder and that would get me better shot selection,” Morgan explained. “It felt pretty good.”
It was a career high for Morgan, who had scored only six points in West’s last two outings.
Devin Parks added an efficient 16 points for the Falcons, making two 3s and going 5-for-6 from the foul line. Morgan yanked down 12 boards to add to his big scoring night. Sherrill and Alexis Archie dished out five assists apiece.
“It was one of those games that didn’t have much flow, but I do think our defense was pretty good,” Gurley said. “We’re moving quicker and getting to spots better.”
D.J. Love (11 points) scored six in a hurry and had the Cougars even at 6-6 three minutes into the game.
But Sherrill spotted an open Seth Martin, and Martin’s 3-pointer got the crowd fired up and ignited that 18-0 run by the Falcons.
Carson wouldn’t score for the next six minutes.
“I know it was like 13-6 for a really long time,” Perry said. “We were doing a decent job of getting some stops, but then that march to the foul line started, and they got out to a pretty good lead on us.”
When Sherrill used a screen by Jack Gallagher to free himself for an open shot at the first-quarter horn, the Falcons’ lead was 19-6.
Kiero Cuthbertson hit a 15-footer and Archie got a three-point play off a Carson turnover as West expanded its lead in the early stages of the second quarter.
“We did shoot a lot of free throws tonight, but part of that was playing good defense, getting turnovers and then attacking the basket hard,” said Gurley, who logged his 321st win at the helm of the Falcons.
West’s student section cheerfully saluted Carson’s achievement of double-digit scoring two minutes into the second quarter, but by then it was 28-10, and there wasn’t much suspense left.
“If we’d made a few more shots we would’ve felt better about ourselves at halftime,” Perry said. “I don’t know if it’s just our youth or what, but we have a hard time competing and staying with the gameplan once we get down. We drop our heads.”
The teams traded buckets in the second half, and West won for the 11th time in 14 meetings with the Cougars.
CARSON (48) — Love 11, Laws 10, Gilbert 7, Williams 7, Howard 5, Stout 4, Abbitt 3, Raper 1, Broome, N.Martin.
WEST ROWAN (73) — Sherrill 21, J. Morgan 19, Parks 16, Warren 6, Cuthbertson 3, S. Martin 3, Archie 3, Reddick 2, Tucker, Gallagher, T. Morgan.
Carson 6 15 16 11 — 48
W. Rowan 19 25 17 12 — 73