KANNAPOLIS — A.L. Brown’s long arms and long legs led to some long faces for South Rowan.
In other words, a long night for the visitors at Bullock Gym, where the Wonders romped 70-42 over their neighbors.
“Physically, they overmatched us,” South coach Bryan Withers said. “They could drive us right through the basket and then jump over us.”
Dominique Garlin accounted for a seven-point flurry in barely a minute in the third quarter, but that was the start and end of South’s highlights.
Shawn Spry scored 10 for the Raiders (1-2).
With its most touted class in many years now seniors , A.L. Brown (2-0) figured to be strong this season, and that was before 6-foot-6 flyer Tydus Parks transferred from Hickory Ridge to Bullock Gym.
Parks and 6-4 Braxton Waddell hammered down dunks for an early 9-2 lead, with Waddell jamming a perfect lob by veteran Michael Carr.
It was the sort of stuff you expect to see at the Miami Heat’s American Airlines Arena, not in Kannapolis, and the Raiders were understandably shellshocked for a while.
Withers was impressed, although not surprised.
“I saw them last year and I saw them this summer,” he said. “I went into this game thinking they might be the best team on our schedule.”
That’s possible, even though the Wonders were a modest 16-10 last season and haven’t won 20 games since 2004-05.
“We’ve got eight seniors and some size so we do have a chance to be a very good team,” said always-cautious coach Shelwyn Klutz. “But we’ve still got to rebound and play defense all the time, and I haven’t seen us do that yet. I haven’t seen us attack the basket consistently yet, and I’m not sure yet about our guard depth.”
What the Wonders can do is dunk — they had four of them.
They also can reject and alter shots, especially Parks and Tevin Stark. Brown blocked a dozen South shots, as many as it used to block in a month, and it was tough for South slashers like Josh Medlin (two points, no field goals) to finish inside.
Stark wound up with 15 points. Waddell scored 13, all in the first half. Parks is a triple-double waiting to happen because of his shot-blocking ability. He had nine points and seven blocks.
Experienced point guard Derrick Copeland ran the show and knocked down three 3-pointers. His shooting is a huge piece of the puzzle.
“When you play them, the only chance you might have is if they’re not making any shots,” Withers said. “And you have to take care of the ball. We didn’t. We must have had 30 turnovers.”
South stayed in the game until the middle of the second quarter. When Spry made a free throw, it was 28-18 with 3:25 left in the first half, but Copeland scored off a steal, Parks dunked, and Kyrell Williamson got a stickback, and it was suddenly 37-20 at the half.
Stark monster-flushed a stickback early in the second half for a 21-point lead, and the Wonders cruised from there.
“If we defend and rebound the way we should, we can win lots of games,” Copeland said. “Not many people will be able to run with us. I think we have as much talent as anyone.”
SOUTH ROWAN (42) — Spry 10, Garlin 7, Carter 5, Tyler 5, Holbrook 4, Rhyne 3, Littlejohn 3, Medlin 2, Wesley 2, Miller 1, Corriher, Goldston, Ouellette.
A.L. BROWN(70) —Stark 15, Copeland 13, Waddell 13, Parks 9, Addison 4, Williamson 4, Neal 4, Carr 3, Shepard 3, Parker 2, Joyner, Johnson, Watson
S. Rowan 11 9 9 13 — 42
A.L. Brown 22 15 18 15 — 70