Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 22, 2012
STATESVILLE — East Rowan’s boys basketball team feels like it’s back in the game.
The Mustangs have dealt with leftover football injuries and seasonal illness for the past month, but they seemed refueled by Friday’s 64-38 NPC victory at West Iredell.
“It’s the first night we’ve had everybody back.” forward Connor Honeycutt said after East (4-6, 1-1) secured the No. 5 seed in next week’s Christmas tournament. “(Joshua) Moses just got back and Tyler (L’Homedeau) has been out with an injury. But tonight we were all here and playing together.”
Winning coach Trey Ledbetter was equally pleased after ER earned its third win in the past four games.
“It was big to get back to .500 in the conference, especially leading into next week with a two-week break from conference (play),” he said. “It puts a good taste in your mouth going in to the break.”
East placed two scorers in double figures, paced by Honeycutt’s season-high 16 points. Early 3-pointers by Donte Means and Samuel Wyrick helped the Mustangs jump to an 18-5 first-quarter lead.
“We just came out with some confidence,” Means said after netting 13 points. “We’ve been playing kind of slow lately, not having great starts. But tonight was a quick start. We weren’t worried about anything except playing our game and executing our offense.”
Ledbetter singled out Means’ early contribution. “If he gets off to a quick start, we get off to a quick start,” he said.
West Iredell coach Matt Miller decided the Mustangs were the sharper team both with and without the ball.
“Honestly, they were better than we were,” he said after the Warriors (2-6, 0-2) made only eight field goals. “Their press hurt us, but I take that on myself. I didn’t have us ready for that.”
East also play a strong offensive game when it needed to. Honeycutt’s over-and-under layup gave it a 27-9 lead midway through the second quarter. And when Josh Gobble connected on a backdoor layup, got fouled and hit the ensuing free throw, ER led 41-20 early in the third period.
“They can shoot,” Miller said. “And a lot of those weren’t open shots.”
E. ROWAN (64) — Honeycutt 16, Means 13, Sa.Wyrick 8, Gobble 8, L’Homedeau 6, Bell 4, Corpening 4, Se.Wyrick 3, Edwards 2, Brown, Moses, Heidrick, Hill.
W. IREDELL (38) — Messick 14, Reid 9, Johnson 7, Keaton 2, Gilleland 2, Weaver 2, Dalton 2.
E. Rowan 18 13 21 12 — 64
W. Iredell 5 12 14 7 — 38