MT. ULLA — South Rowan was favored to beat West Rowan in a boys basketball game on Friday.
Instead, it was business as usual. The Falcons have taken their lumps the last few weeks, but when they beat South 66-58 in the West gym, it marked their 14th consecutive victory against their NPC and county rivals. The last time South beat West was in the 2007 Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
“We didn’t do anything right,” summed up disappointed South coach Bryan Withers. “It was like we didn’t even try to play defense.”
South blew out West Iredell in its NPC opener and had visions of being 2-0 in league play for the first time since 1996, but the Raiders missed Dalton Carter’s inside play, and it all came crashing down in a wave of buckets in the paint by West’s Chris Hassard and Najee Tucker.
“It was one of those deals where we worked really hard,” said West coach Mike Gurley, who set a new world record by yelling, “Swing the ball!” 2,450 times. “I’m not gonna lie, we’ve been taking some hits, so it was good that we had some success. It lets us know we’re going in the right direction.”
South (5-5, 1-1) got 12 points from Shawn Spry and 11 each from Qwan Rhyne and Tvadis Wesley. West (2-8, 1-1) was paced by Seth Martin, who made four 3-pointers and scored 15. Tucker had 14, while Hassard and Devin Parks scored 11 each.
Hassard was the biggest difference-maker because he came in averaging 3 points a game but scored nine in the third quarter alone.
“My points just came by playing hard,” said Hassard, a burly junior who looks like he was ordered out of the offensive lineman catalogue. “Najee and Devin made great passes. They made my job easy.”
South sported sharp new gray uniforms, but that’s where the visitors stopped looked good. South managed a sluggish 10-all tie after a quarter, but when Martin drilled three 3s in his 11-point third quarter, West grabbed a 28-21 halftime lead.
“It’s like we were still walking around with our chests puffed out from the West Iredell game,” Withers said. “It was like we wanted to be cool instead of getting in there and fighting. This game is about who’s willing to compete, and we did a poor job of that.”
West threatened to blow the game open in the third quarter. Hassard kept powering in layups. Tucker kept rising for stickbacks. Martin tossed in another 3, and West, which led by as many as 15, took a 49-36 lead to the final eight minutes.
That’s when South played with a sense of urgency, and Wesley started scoring inside. South got as close as 58-54 on an Eric Tyler layup with 2:04 left, but Darius Gabriel’s steal and Parks’ follow of Gabriel’s miss stopped South’s run.
Rhyne scored with 1:36 left to cut West’s edge to 60-56, but Parks and Gabriel answered.
S. ROWAN (58) — Spry 12, Wesley 11, Rhyne 11, Goldston 8, Medlin 6, Holbrook 5, Tyler 3, Corriher 2, Miller, Garlin.
W. ROWAN (66) — Martin 15, Tucker 14, Hassard 11, Parks 11, Gabriel 4, Reddick 4, Avery 3, Morrison 2, Long 2, Wilson, Gallagher, Phillips, Blackwood,
S. Rowan 10 11 15 22 — 58
W. Rowan 10 18 21 17 — 66