NPC Boys Final: Statesville 71, West Rowan 50

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2012

By David Shaw
SALISBURY — You don’t need an advanced degree from MIT to understand what happened to West Rowan on Friday night.
Its 71-50 loss in the NPC tournament championship game had everything to do with host Statesville.
“They just got hot and started shooting the lights out,” senior Keshun Sherrill said after the Greyhounds made 10 three-point baskets, including six in the decisive third quarter. “They got the momentum and never gave it back.”
Sherrill was West’s high scorer with 15 points, but the Falcons (16-11) needed so much more to contend with No. 1 seed Statesville’s avalanche of long balls in the second half.
“Sometimes you can pay all of your bills,” West coach Mike Gurley said. “And sometimes you can’t. And you have to decide which ones you’re going to pay.”
The Falcons chose to take away Statesville’s penetration, but the decision was costly. Senior Nick Schofield was like the man at the toll booth — he made the Falcons pay, and dearly.
“We had to wake up and get our motor running,” said winning coach Sonny Schofield, Nick’s father. “It wasn’t what we weren’t doing (in the first half). I had to figure who wanted to play. Once I did, I left those guys in there. We didn’t point fingers, but they knew who they were and what they had to do.”
His words could have been aimed like a bazooka at his son, the elusive guard who shredded the Falcons for 20 second-half points. West had already surrendered a 26-25 halftime lead when Schofield drained a 3-pointer from the right side. Then came a flurry of three consecutive 3-balls in less than a minute. The first was launched by Statesville’s Jarod Gill, a bomb from the left side that put the Hounds ahead 36-30 with 5:51 remaining in the period. Schofield followed with back-to-back treys — the first a 22-footer from beyond the key and the second from 25 feet. Seconds later he garnered a defensive rebound, drove the length of the court and hit a spinning layup, pushing Statesville’s lead to 44-30.
“That kid just really got hot,” said West senior Travis Morgan. “That’s all that happened.”
West play its best ball in the second quarter. Morgan hit a stickback, Seth Martin buried the first of his three 3-pointers and Maurice Warren scored on a last-minute runaway layup, giving the Falcons a one-point edge at the break.
“We were just playing basketball,” Sherrill said. “We were more together, looking for each other and finishing. But in the second half we had to make stops and didn’t. That’s when Statesville took advantage of us.”
By the end of a 30-point third quarter the Greyhounds led 55-38. That ballooned to 68-43 when Schofield corkscrewed through the paint for a layup, got hacked by Warren and hit the ensuing free throw with 3:21 to play.
“I don’t know if we ever played good here in two games (this season),” Gurley said. “Both times, they came out better at halftime than we did. If they don’t hit those shots in the third quarter, who knows how it would have gone.”
WEST ROWAN (50) — Sherrill 15, Martin 9, J.Morgan 8, Tucker 7, Warren 3, T.Morgan 2, Archie 2, Hassard 2, Rayner 2, Long, Blackwood, Gallagher, Cuthbertson.
STATESVILLE (71) — Schofield 24, Gill 13, Gaither 12, Warren 12, Borders 4, Willis 3, Knox 2, Witherspoon 1.
W. Rowan 11 15 12 12 — 50
Statesville 14 11 30 16 — 71