Prep Basketball: North Rowan boys 80, North Moore 36

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 10, 2012

By Mike London
SPENCER — North Rowan’s march to the 1A state championship last February and March attracted a large bandwagon of supporters.
One of the new fans they gained was North Moore coach Grant Smith.
“I followed them all the way,” Smith said. “Mostly because of Coach (Andrew) Mitchell. Everyone can see the talent their team has, but to me it’s coaching that sets them apart. No matter who is on the floor for them, they follow the system, and that’s the sign of great coaching.”
Smith had been in Spencer already this season — as much to watch his second-favorite team as to scout it — so he knew what was coming. The Cavaliers played everyone except scorekeeper Sallie Hundley and clock operator Junior Mowery and still rolled 80-36 against Smith’s Mustangs on Tuesday.
“They’re lightning-fast and they’re so big they killed us on the boards,” Smith said. “I was aware that could happen.”
The Cavaliers (12-2, 8-0 YVC) played in spurts. At times they looked interested. At times, it looked like their minds were on tonight’s matchup at West Rowan. NR has won six straight, including the Moir championship, since an 81-75 setback to the Falcons in Spencer.
“The fact that we shot 4-for-18 on free throws tonight tells me we weren’t really focused,” Mitchell said. “I know our guys were looking forward to a big game with West, and this was one of those times when it was a little tough to get up and get ready.
“Offensively, we made a whole lot of mistakes, but defensively, I thought we got after it pretty well.”
North Moore’s ballhandlers are small and young — freshmen and sophomores. The Mustangs (2-12, 2-7) were coming off a confidence-building win against South Stanly on Monday, but they had no hope against North guards Pierre Givens and Jordan Kimber. Givens looks like a college DB, while Kimber looks like an NFL linebacker.
“North Rowan’s guards are so big they can see everything,” Smith said. “But we wanted to compete and not be afraid, and we did that. Compared to last year, we handled their pressure better and kept our composure better. We got a little bit better tonight.”
North’s starting crew of seniors Kimber, Givens and Daniel Chambers and sophs Michael Connor and Michael Bowman came out with solid intensity, and it was 19-4 after four minutes. Connor had 10 of those 19, simply by converting a string of 2-footers.
“It’s pretty wonderful playing with two guards who can pass like Pierre and Jordan,” Connor said. “I just had to run the floor and make layups.”
Bowman has great hands, and he created havoc defensively while ruling the boards. He had seven rebounds before halftime.
Once Mitchell pulled that first group, however, the Cavs hit a lull. The second unit, which featured big guys Malik Ford and Tydler Watlington managed to go scoreless the next four minutes.
North Rowan still led 42-19 at halftime and went up 64-24 at the end of the third quarter when Ford rammed in a dunk.
“We wanted to go hard all night,” said North’s Oshon West, who scored 10. “Coach said if we didn’t, we’d be practicing every day.”
Cavalier subs finished the game on a run, with Devin Tate and Travis Holshouser getting six quick points each. Teresse Barber put a smile on Mitchell’s face when he sacrificed a layup try to dish to Holshouser for an easier two.
Talented and unselfish. That’s the Cavs at their best.
“I don’t think you’re talking about a team that’s just good for 1A,” Smith said. You could put them up against anyone in the state.”
NORTH MOORE (36) — Auman 10, Marley 7, Spivey 6, Davis 4, Ballard 3, Herron 2, P. Chisholm 2, Hunsucker 2, M. Chisholm, B. Person, M. Person.
NORTH ROWAN (80) — Connor 12, West 10, Givens 10, Watlington 10, Kimber 9, Chambers 8, Holshouser 6, Tate 6, Ford 5, Barber 2, Bowman 2, Kelly, Robinson, Ellis.
N. Moore 8 11 5 12 — 36
N. Rowan 19 23 22 16 — 80