LANDIS — Basketball is one of those games where you need to have a short memory.
The South Rowan boys put a lopsided Thursday loss to rival A.L. Brown squarely behind them and bounced back with an impressive non-conference win over West Davidson, 67-51 Friday night at home.
Despite the wide margin of victory, first year Raider Coach Bryan Withers used the occasion to impart a lesson in effort and leadership in the team.
“I am trying to test my seniors because I don’t think they are giving us enough leadership,” Withers said. “I need them to be leaders. All I ask is that you play as hard as you can for as long as you can.”
To make his point Withers started the game with all of his his seniors except defensive whiz Dominique Garlin on the bench. The line-up included freshman wing Christian Holbrook and junior post player T’vadus Wesley, who along with Garlin led a high pressure defensive effort that enabled the Raiders to build an early lead they would never relinquish.
Regular starters Josh Medlin, Shawn Spry and Eric Tyler came on later in the first period and played a key role in building the margin to 14 by halftime.
Full court pressure and trapping defense played the key role according to Garlin. “I think our defense rattled them a little bit and that let us get more points,” he said. “We were able to score off turnovers and build a good lead.”
Wesley controlled the boards early with 8 rebounds and two quick baskets before he got in foul trouble. Medlin came in and coverted a three point play followed by a steal and long three pointer to give South a 40-26 margin at the half.
The Green Dragons rallied in the third period to cut the lead to eight behind forward David Monk and guard Tyler Grooms. South responded with a pair of long three’s by Tyler and Spry to move the margin back to 15 at the end of three periods. The margin reached as high as 18 twice in the final period as South improved to 2-2 on the season and completed a successful 2-1 week. West Davidson of the Central Carolina Conference, fell to 0-2 in their new season.
“South was trying to play a fast paced game and they achieved that goal by making us play faster than we wanted,” Dragon Coach Derrick Stokes stated, “Our game is about good defense and creating takeaways but they took that away from us tonight.”
The Raiders, because of their platoon system, enjoyed a balanced scoring night with 10 players getting into the act. Spry led the way with 13 while Wesley added 10 to go with his 8 rebounds. Qwantarius Rhyne chipped in with nine for South.
Grooms topped the visitors with 11, the only player in double figures for the Dragons.
“It was a good effort overall for us tonight,” Withers said. “We are learning to play harder and play the right way.”
WEST DAVIDSON (51) — Grooms 11, Queen 9, Kahn 9, Beck 6, Smith 6, Monk 6, Teague 4, Blackburn.
SOUTH ROWAN(67) — Sprye 13, Wesley 10, Rhyne 9, Medlin 8, Tyler 8, Goldston 6, Corriher 5, Garlin 4, Holbrook 3, Miller 1, Cater, Ouellette.
W. Davidson 16 10 16 9 — 51
S. Rowan 21 19 17 10 — 67