Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

MT. ULLA — The West Rowan Falcons have had their share of growing pains this season with a relativly young and inexperienced squad.
But after an impressive 71-59 win over North Iredell last night, the Falcons might rightfully have their sights set on some higher goals. Led by a 22-point performance from sophomore Celexus Long, West (4-1, 6-10) won its fourth straight game and also kept a firm grip on second place in the North Piedmont conference.
“We are happy, we are 4-1, but know we have seven mre conference games to go.” Falcon coach Mike Gurley stated. “But hey, we are trying to win the North Piedmont Conference.”
North Iredell (2-4, 6-10) battled the Falcons for the full 32 minutes, closing within 5 points twice in the second half. The balanced Falcon attack and high energy defense allowed them to finally pull away late in the third period 58-43.
“We could have played better on defense but other than that we played well as a team,” stated Long, a 5-8 guard who had 12 in the first half and 10 more in the second. He notched a dozen of his points with a perfect 12 of 12 at the foul line.
“Celexus is just really playing well right now,” Gurley said, “Tonight we needed that scoring from him and he came through.”
The Falcons were far from a one man show as 11 players saw action and nine of them scored. Daisean Reddick shook off a hard fall in the first half that sent him to the sidelines by scoring 13 points, including two key baskets in the decisive third quarter.
Center Chris Hassard came off the bench to provide West with some inside muscle scoring 8 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Long range bomber Seth Martin hit a pair of timely three’s and scored 8 as well.
West never trailed in the game as they broke out to a 19-13 lead after one period. A long three by Martin and a tip in by Amir Hodzic kept the Falcons ahead 38-30 at the half.
Despite a 20 point outburst in the third period by West, the visiting Raiders still hung close behind Nick Ruppe, a jayvee call-up with 14, Nick Nolen with 12, and their young 6-4 center Brantley Chambers who had nine points and six rebounds.
“They never quit and kept pumping right at us,” Gurley said of his opponents. “They forced us to play the full 32 minutes tonight.”

NORTH IREDELL (59) — Ruppe 14, Nolen 12, Chambers 9, Mullins 9, Pruitt 8, Hartness 4, Ely 2, Colvin 1, Pruitt, Weibly, Queen
WEST ROWAN (71) — Long 22, Reddick 13, Martin 8, Hassard 8, Tucker 7, Parks 5, Gabriel 5, Morrison 2, Phillips 1, Blackwood, Gallagher.

North Iredell 13 17 15 14 — 59
West Rowan 19 19 20 13 — 71