STATESVILLE — Mike Gurley wants everyone to stop paying attention to West Rowan’s won-lost record.
The longtime coach insists it doesn’t tell the whole story.
“People probably think I have gone to another planet,” Gurley said Tuesday night, moments after the visiting Falcons dropped their NPC opener 83-55 at Statesville. “These young boys need me to be their advocate right now. We are behind in key areas — and that’s not an insult. We are what we are. But when they get it, they’re gonna be pretty good.”
West (1-8, 0-1) may be pretty good by the end of the season, but it wasn’t good enough last night. Statesville (5-0, 1-0) had two speeds — fast and see-ya-later — and used both to blow past the Falcons in the second half.
“They definitely played more up-tempo than we did,” forward Devin Parks said after contributing 19 points and eight rebounds. “They’re not an easy team to defend.”
West played its best during a four-minute stretch that bridged the second and third quarters. First it trimmed a 14-point deficit to 40-31 at the half, thanks to Parks’ bank shot from the left side and two free throws apieced from Parks and Seth Martin.
Then the Falcons launched the second half with an 8-0 scoring spree and pulled within 40-39 when Parks drove the left side of the lane and scored on a layup.
“That’s what I mean,” Gurley said. “When we figured this thing out we’re going to be OK. There aren’t many teams in this confrerence that are going be 40-39 against Statesville with (a few) minutes left in the third quarter.”
Winning coach Sonny Schofield, who has steered the Greyhounds to back-to-back NPC titles, was uncomfortable with WR’s rally.
“That’s a lack of focus on the part of my floor leaders,” he said. “They should know West Rowan is going to play hard — and that waas the flatest we’ve played all year.”
It didn’t last. Sparked by reserve Kender Thompson (17 points) and stallions Jaquan Warren and Josh Gaither, SHS turned the brushfire into a bonfire, outscoring West 20-1 over the next five minutes.
“For a while we were defending, rebounding and finishing shots,” West’s Najee Tucker said after a 10-point/9-rebound effort. “It did feel good knowing we could play with them.”
Parks hopes it’s a sign of things to come. “We’re a young team but if we keep working, it will come together,” he said. “The record at the end of the season will say it all.”
WEST ROWAN (55) — Parks 19, Reddick 13, Tucker 10, Martin 7, Gabriel 2, Morrison 2, Avery 1, Phillips 1, Blackwood, Long, Gallagher, Wilson, Davidson, Hassard.
STATESVILLE (83) — Thompson 17, Daniels 12, Warren 12, Gaither 11, Willis 7, J.Williams 6, Renwick 5, St. John 3, J.Murdock 2, Turner 2, D.Murdock 2, Borders 2, M.Williams 2.
W. Rowan 11 20 9 15 — 55
Statesville 19 21 20 23 — 83