SALISBURY — This is all you need to know about the woes of the East Rowan boys in their 63-53 loss to South Rowan on Saturday in the Moir Christmas Classic’s fifth-place game.
Samuel Wyrick blocks a shot, recovers it and zooms down the court, making a textbook bounce pass for an easy, wide-open layup attempt.
Except the layup was missed. South races downcourt and backup big man Brock Miller scoops in a reverse layup for a 3-point play, leaving an exasperated East coach Trey Ledbetter shaking his head.
“That’s the story of our season — missed free throws and missed wide-open layups,” he said. “Missed opportunities.”
Oh yeah, the free throws. East shot a whopping 42 and made only 21. And field-goals? At one point East was 9-of-41.
Even more amazing was that South coach Bryan Withers seemed more flustered than Ledbetter. Miller’s bucket and free throw had the Raiders (7-6) up 44-26 with just over three minutes left in the third period. And yet, East pulled to within seven at 56-49 on a 3-pointer by Donte Means with 2:22 left.
“They weren’t playing well and we had every opportunity to blow this game (open),” Withers said. “We haven’t learned how to handle any success. We win one or two games that are big and then we can’t play the next two.”
East called a timeout after Means’ bomb and Withers had a message for his team: learn to finish.
“We were making silly plays, running in for layups when we shouldn’t rush.” he said. “We need to understand the time and the score.”
Thanks to 6-foot-3 junior Dalton Carter, South (7-6) righted the ship. He hit two free throws and a bucket to help increase the lead back to 11 points.
“He’s playing very well,” Withers said of Carter, who also had nine boards.
So is Tavadis Wesley, who scored 13 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.
“We have a good team and tonight, we played like it,” Wesley said. “We have to keep the lead in the fourth quarter.”
Josh Medlin had 13 points and Shawn Spry 12 before rolling an ankle.
Tyler L’Hommedieu, a linebacker by trade, was a basketball star on this night, leading the Mustangs (4-8) with 14. He was 5-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point land.
“L’Hommedieu is a scoring machine because we have no one else trying to score the ball,” Ledbetter said. “I think it’s a confidence thing. We have to go in strong with the ball on layups. We’re shying away from contact.”
NOTES: South’s Eric “Take a Charge” Tyler took one and paid for it with a bloody lip. He’ll get stitches. … South shot 33 free throws, making 19. … South’s bench outscored East 10-1.
EAST ROWAN (53) — L’Hommedieu 14, Sa. Wyrick 13, Means 13, Gobble 7, Honeycutt 5, Edwards 1, Brown, Se. Wyrick, Hill, Bell, Corpening.
SOUTH ROWAN (63) — Wesley 13, Medlin 13, Spry 12, Carter 10, Rhyne 5, Miller 3, Corriher 2, Goldston 2, Holbrook 2, Tyler 1, Rary, Oulette, Hill.
E. Rowan 9 13 9 22 — 53
S. Rowan 14 18 14 17 — 63