Prep Basketball Sectionals: Concord boys 65, West Rowan 42
By Ryan Bisesi
CONCORD — With under a minute left in a decided game, Keshun Sherill had nothing left to give the West Rowan basketball program except for some long-awaited hugs for the Falcons’ bench.
The longest embrace came for head coach Mike Gurley, who tried to thank his senior who had hung out in the West Rowan gym for over a decade.
“I feel like I’ve coached him for about nine or 10 years,” said Gurley after West bowed out to Concord 65-42 in the second round of the state 3A playoffs. “I don’t know if I have the proper speech in mind.”
West waved goodbye to Sherrill and its 2011-12 season after getting off to a slow start and never recovering against the seventh-ranked team in the state. It was the second time in three seasons Concord ended it for West.
“I actually started crying on the sideline when he brought Keshun out because I know what Mike was feeling,” Concord coach Scott Brewer said. “I cried the rest of the game because of that.”
Brewer had plenty of reason to relish during the game, especially at the end of the first half when Concord embarked on a 9-3 spurt that gave it a 34-19 lead at halftime. The third quarter didn’t get much better for West (17-12) as it was outscored 18-6. It looked like the same team the Falcons faced three weeks ago in a 78-53 defeat.
“We just have to work harder on defense,” Sherrill said. “Against teams like that, you have to made a basket and sprint back.”
Concord (26-2) shot 14 of 28 from the floor in the first half and scored the first nine points. Darren Black canned a 3 to start the game and Connor Burchfield hit two free throws. Burchfield, who had a game-high 18 points, hit a runner on the next possession to cue a West timeout.
“They stunned us early and got us on our heels,” Gurley said. “We didn’t snap out of it for about 21 minutes.”
The Falcons started out 1-for-6 shooting to fall behind 11-2. West’s first basket came on Maurice Warren’s shot almost halfway through the quarter. They closed it to 13-7 at the end of the first quarter before Burchfield scored Concord’s first six of the quarter. Alexis Archie canned a trey to cut it to 19-12. Navy signee Kendall Knorr drained a 3 at the other end to push it back to double digits.
“After 20-something years of varsity coaching, I understand that when they’re making shots and you’re not, it’s going to be a long night,” Gurley said. “Scott Brewer’s a heck of a coach and they’ve got some great skill.”
The third quarter saw Burchfield, Black and Knorr take turns driving the Falcons nuts. West had a pulse down 38-25 before Knorr’s putback ignited a 14-0 run to end the quarter and kill any comeback hopes.
“I’ve got three really good skilled perimeter players,” Brewer said.
Sherrill eclipsed 1900 points for his career in a 10-point effort. Jarvis Morgan, also in his last game, scored a team-high 12 for West.
The Spiders face Charlotte Catholic in the sectional final Friday night.
WEST ROWAN (42) — J. Morgan 12, Sherrill 10, T. Morgan 6, Archie 4, Reddick 3, Gallagher 3, Hassard 2, Tucker 2, Long, Cuthbertson, T. Morgan, Warren, Martin, Blackwood.
CONCORD (65) — Burchfield 18, Aube 13, Black 12, Knorr 11, Prutte 2, Williams 2, Lee 2, Beecher 2, Burk 2, Roseman 1, Twigger, Rollins, Parhms.
W. Rowan 7 12 6 17 — 42
Concord 13 21 18 13 — 65