SPENCER — Former North Rowan hero Chris Sifford cheerfully spent the final minutes pleading with the Cavaliers to hold the ball because he knew his own team’s school record was in jeopardy.
Sifford scored 22 points on the January night in 1989 when North crushed Southwest Guilford 105-67 to set the mark, and that old-school record withstood a pretty good challenge on Wednesday night.
North beat YVC opponent South Davidson 101-32, making its first visit to triple digits since Sifford and Larry Dixon led that onslaught in 1989. North broke 100 when crowd favorite Alex Billingsley buried an outside shot with 36 seconds left.
“Alex is not as talented as some of his teammates, but he’s a great person, and I was excited for him,” North coach Andrew Mitchell said. “To see his teammates’ reaction and to see the crowd’s reaction — moments like that are why you coach.”
Billingsley’s bucket triggered the night’s second celebration. The first came when Oshon West muscled in a layup in the second quarter, and the game was halted briefly to acknowledge 1,000 career points for the 6-foot-3 senior.
“I feel good about it, and I thank my teammates,” said West, who had a dunk. “I’m the first in my family to do it, and it’ll be something to tell my kids someday.”
Figuring out exactly how many career points West has is still a work in progress because he spent his sophomore season at North Hills. But there’s no doubt he has passed 1,000. He definitely has scored 750 in the green and gold of the Cavaliers, including the game-high 25 he poured in on Wednesday while playing about 18 minutes.
“Getting Oshon to 1,000 was a goal tonight, and his teammates made a very conscious effort to get him the ball early in the game,” Mitchell said. “We may have gotten a little sloppy because they were trying so hard to get it to him, but you’ll take that. We’re a family-type team, and everyone was trying to help a member of the family.”
West had eight quick points and Michael Bowman had five, as North jumped to an 18-2 lead.
But, amazingly, South Davidson (0-10, 0-5) closed the quarter with an 8-0 run.
“We had bright spots,” said South Davidson coach Matt Belk, who was an all-county forward at East Rowan in 2002. “That was a good run we had there, and we took a season-high six charges.”
T.J. Bates scored 17 points, the most he’s had since ACL surgery cost him all of last season, and his production helped compensate for the absence of high-flying junior Michael Connor, who is expected to miss several weeks with a strained knee ligament.
“Guys filled in well for Connor,” Mitchell said. “Everyone was anxious to play again after losing to Davie and to correct some mistakes that we made.”
Bates led North (9-3, 5-0) in the second quarter as it pushed to a 44-18 halftime lead.
North’s 33-point third quarter included scoring by eight players. West had 12 in the period, while Bates had 10. At that point, it was 77-29.
“I’ve got a bunch of freshmen and sophomores, and you can’t teach experience,” Belk said. “We tried to build on that 8-0 run we had, but in the second half we didn’t box out and we didn’t execute.”
North’s talent extends well past its first five, and even past its second five. That’s why the Cavs reached 100.
North’s starters sat the final eight minutes, but freshman Josh Handy and big guy Devon Tate, who had a dunk, kept the scoreboard moving.
The Nelson brothers, Dalton and Brandon, who are second-team guys, chipped in with seven points in the final quarter.
Kihrey Ellis and Shareef Walker also contributed. All told, North got 39 helpful points from its reserve group.
“Everyone played well,” West said. “We had to make up big-time for losing in the Christmas tournament.”
Belk had a front-row seat and was impressed.
“I hate we got beat like that,” he said. “But it’s good experience for our guys to see that kind of talent level.”
SOUTH DAVIDSON (32) — Collins 11, Gallimore 7, Hazelwood 5, Cornelison 3, Ball 2, Stevenson 2, Crook 2.
NORTH ROWAN (101) — West 25, Bates 17, Handy 9, Ford 7, Bowman 7, Tate 7, D. Nelson 7, Sanders 6, Ellis 6, Walker 4, Billingsley 4, B. Nelson 2, Archie.
S. Davidson 10 8 11 3 — 32
N. Rowan 18 26 33 24 — 101
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