Prep Basketball: South Davidson boys 71, North Rowan 62
By Ryan Bisesi
DENTON — Most YVC teams know it would take just about everything to beat North Rowan. In South Davidson’s gym Friday night, just about everything happened.
The Wildcats delayed the clinching of North’s third-straight YVC crown in a 71-62 upset in a packed-to-capacity gym that watched a pair of top-10 1A teams.
South sophomore Austin Hatfield scored 34 points, 22 in the first half, as the Cavs were dealt just their fourth YVC loss in the past three seasons.
The Cavs gained a 55-52 lead with four minutes left but watched as Austin and Taylor Hatfield hit back-to-back 3s to give the Wildcats the lead for keeps.
North committed 17 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half, that caused it to play catch-up for most of the evening.
“They came out in the first half and literally beat us up,” North coach Andrew Mitchell said. “We weren’t mentally ready for that.”
The Cavs’ string of 12 straight wins, dating back to mid-December, was broken.
The festivities included a seven-minute delay to clean up a young fan’s lost dinner and a address from South coach Jim Young to the home crowd to stay off the floor.
That was his team’s territory.
“I was impressed with our kids in that we didn’t back off from them,” said Young, the former East Rowan coach. “It’s just a huge win for our school and puts a good feather in our cap.”
North (18-3, 11-1) played without senior guard Jordan Kimber, who was out with a leg injury. Pierre Givens had a team-best 17 points while Oshon West offered 16.
North had a season sweep on its mind when Michael Bowman hit consecutive shots to give the Cavs a 15-8 lead. South hit seven straight field goals to embark upon a 17-0 run. The Wildcats (18-4, 12-2) held a 25-15 edge early in the second quarter after Austin Hatfield’s third trey.
“If you can’t get to those guys, they’re going to knock down those shots,” Mitchell said.
The Cavs closed to within 29-26 but trailed 40-32 at halftime after Austin Hatfield stole the ball and swished a layup.
“He’s a good player,” North’s Tydler Watlington said of Austin Hatfield. “I can tell he loves the game.”
The Cavs closed to 48-45 after three quarters and regained the lead on two free throws from Bowman at 51-50. West put back a missed free throw on the next possession and it was 53-50 with 5:06 left.
After Givens went coast-to-coast on a layup, Austin Hatfield drained his fifth 3 of the game to tie it at 55. The next possession, brother Taylor went around a screen and swished one in front of the South bench for a 58-55 lead with 2:45 left. North got within one on a reverse layup by West, but the Wildcats made 10 of 13 free throws down the stretch to secure the upset.
“They’re bigger and stronger, but we didn’t get intimidated by that,” Young said.
North’s dreams of an unbeaten conference season were dashed, but it still can wrap up a conference title and a top seed for the playoffs with a win against Gray Stone Tuesday.
“The same time last year we lost to Albemarle and we didn’t lose after that,” Watlington said. “We’ve got to come back focused.”
NORTH ROWAN (62) — Givens 17, West 16, Bowman 8, Connor 7, Chambers 6, Watlington 6, Ford 2.
SOUTH DAVIDSON (71) — A. Hatfield 34, Cook 15, T. Hatfield 11, Collins 6, Whitaker 5, Haneline, Hughes.
N. Rowan 15 17 13 17 — 62
S. Dav. 22 18 8 23 — 71