LANDIS — South Rowan relied on their depth early and often to take a quick big lead and hold off North Iredell 67-52 Friday night.
Using all 12 players, the South Raiders closed out the first period on a 14-2 run to go ahead 20-7 and the North Raiders never caught up.
“We dug ourselves a hole early and South Rowan came out ready to play,” North Coach Brian Cantrell stated, “You cant’ give a good team that big a cushion right off the bat.”
Coming off a solid two win performance in the Christmas Tournament, South kept rolling to notch a key North Piedmont Conference win. They stand 2-1 in the league, 8-6 overall while North Iredell falls to 0-2, 4-8.
Sophomore guard Qwan Rhyne provided most of the offensive spark for South with 19 points but had lots of support as all 12 players got into the action and 10 of them scored.
“We are playing good as a team but we can get better, a lot better,” Rhyne said. As for his own performance, he was more critical. “I could have done better because I had too many turnovers.”
South Coach Brian Withers was a little more blunt in his assessment of the victory. “I think that was a very ugly game with way too many turnovers. I think both teams could never really get a feel of the game,” he said.
Withers was primarily referring to his teams tendency to break out to the big lead then let the North squad get back into it. The 20-7 early margin suddenly was trimmed to 25-19 on two quick baskets by North uard Marquel Mullins midway in the second quarter.
Josh Medlin hit a lay-up and two foul shots for South then Rhyne nailed a jumper and the lead was back to 13. South led by nine at the half and went up 42-29 early in the third on a steal and lay-up by Rhyne.
North responded once again however, to make another run as sophomore center Brantley Chambers asserted himself inside to cut the margin to 42-36. South answered with baskets by Shawn Spry, Medlin and Rhyne to expand the margin to 13 once more.
The lead reached as high as 18 in the final quarter, 64-46, on a driving lay-up by freshman Christian Holbroook. A 13-4 run by South to open the fourth period, keyed the spurt as North finally ran out of responses.
A key sequence in the big surge started with an offensive rebound by junior forward Dalton Carter to draw a foul. He hit the first free throw, missed the second but snagged another rebound and tossed it out to Eric Tyler behind the arc for a back-breaking three pointer.
“We had some spurts where we were really good tonight,” Withers said. “and more than anything we were pushing defense. But we kept letting them get back in it.”
The depth of the Raiders pleased Withers, noting that it was by design.
“If you play as hard as you are supposed to play in a basketball game,” he said, “you shouldn’t be able to play a whole quarter without coming out. We are not to that level yet but we are getting there.”
Rhyne was the only Raider in double figures but Spry had 9 while Medlin and Tvadis Wesley had eight each. Austin Harness with 11 and Mullins with 10 topped North.
NOTES: Senior guard Tyler fouled out late, the first time he had been disqualified in his varsity career. “I just lost track of the number.”
NORTH IREDELL (52) — Hartness 11, Mullins 10, Chambers 9, Colvin 8, Holland 6, Nolen 2, Weibly 2, Ely 2, Grinton 2, Pruitt, Queen.
SOUTH ROWAN (67) — Rhyne 19, Spry 9, Medlin 8, Wesley 8, Hill 6, Tyler 5, Holbrook 5, Carter 4, Goldston 2, Miller 1, Oullette, Corriher.
N. Iredell 7 21 12 12 — 52
S. Rowan 20 17 14 16 — 67
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