SPENCER — Not even a minute into North Rowan’s 67-42 win against Chatham Central and North coach Andrew Mitchell had to give his team a PSA.
Even the loaded Cavaliers need a gut check from time to time, and they got it after shooting and missing three three-pointers in the first 59 seconds.
“We got beat against Davie by going 5 for 20 from the three-point line,” Mitchell said. “I had to remind them that we didn’t want to revert back to being a jump-shot team. We wanted to get the ball inside and send that message right away.”
After a mini-identity crisis, North settled in and gained one of its usual insurmountable leads, one Yadkin Valley Conference coaches such as CC’s Bill Slaughter are accustomed to seeing. The Cavs held a 34-10 edge at halftime, not giving their guests any false hope like last year’s bout in the first round of the conference tournament.
“They’re deep and they’re good,” Slaughter said. “You know they’re going to score. Sometimes they don’t care if you score because they’re going to get it out and beat you up the floor with it.”
North’s Kihrey Ellis reached a career-high 12 points to lead the Cavs in scoring.
“[Ellis] lives right by my mom and dad,” Mitchell said. “Every time I ride by there, he’s out there chunking up shots. He’s a great kid and I’m happy for him.”
The 6-foot-5 Ellis held his own on the glass to make the most of the minutes gained from Michael Connor’s injury.
“I’m not worried about minutes,” Ellis said. “I’m just trying to help the team any way I can.”
Oshon West scored 11 points and Michael Bowman scored 10 for North (10-3, 6-0). North remained unbeaten in YVC play with dates with South Stanly and West Montgomery coming up.
Malik Ford’s dunk and West’s three-pointer highlighted the opening minutes. Shareef Walker hit a layup while being fouled to cap the first quarter with North up 19-8. The second quarter was more of the same with a Bowman layup and another trey from West. Walker’s jumper right before the half gave North a 15-2 edge in points in the second quarter. The Bears were held without a field goal for over five minutes.
Much like Wednesday against South Davidson, North got big production from its reserves with everyone on the bench stepping on the floor. The Bears played with North in the second half, as they were only outscored 33-32. Chatham’s Zach Burke led all scorers with 14 points. LaQuinn Mordecai added 11 for the Bears.
“We actually practiced against nine guys the other day to simulate them,” Slaughter said. “I thought at times we didn’t play hard. Against them, you’ve always got to play hard.”
Ford scored eight points for the Cavs while Walker chipped in with seven points as did freshman Jalen Sanders. CC matched North with 14 points in the final quarter. Chatham had the lead under 20 on multiple occasions although the game was well in hand.
“Some of the sloppiness came from us trying to be too unselfish,” Mitchell said. “Trying to get teammates the ball. It’s hard to get mad about that type of thing. In this game when you’re trying to get everyone involved, you’ll take that.”
CHATHAM CENTRAL (42) — Burke 14, Mordecai 11, Kerr 6, Hams 3, Clark 3, Jones 2, Phillips 1, Moore, Mitchell.
NORTH ROWAN (67) — Ellis 12, West 11, Bowman 10, Ford 8, Sanders 7, Walker 7, Archie 5, Bates 4, D. Nelson 2, Handy 1, Tate, Billingsley.
Chatham C. 8 2 18 14 — 42
N. Rowan 19 15 19 14 — 67
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