Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2013

LANDIS — Losing 55-51 to East Rowan on Senior Night, the playoff hopes of the South Rowan boys faded away like a country-music heartache.
The guy who did the Raiders in on Friday was Dock Corpening, a football player in short pants, who was averaging 2.5 points per game. But make that 2.5 confident points per game.
“I’m a little bit cocky, so I’ve always considered myself a high-flyer,” Corpening said with a smile. “I’ve just never really proved it.”
It appeared South would have an enormous edge in the paint with T’Vadis Wesley and Lavon Hill, but Corpening, who owns East’s most imposing body, more than held his own.
“Dock, Josh (Gobble), Calvin (Edwards) and Tyler (L’Hommedieu) owned the glass,” ecstatic East coach Trey Ledbetter said. “Dock took away the lobs to Wesley. That was huge because when he dunks, South gets energy.”
Energy was lacking for the Raiders, and it was a perfect storm — East playing one of its strongest games and South playing one of its worst.
“This was the first time we’ve played 32 minutes all year,” Ledbetter said. “The only game where we played anything like this was the Kannapolis game (on Dec. 5).
South coach Bryan Withers is convinced the loss to East (6-15, 3-8) can be directly traced to Tuesday’s demoralizing, last-second setback against Carson.
“This was carry-over from Carson,” he said. “You try to move on to the next opponent, but what I could I say. When I looked in my players’ eyes, I could tell they just couldn’t shake Carson. That game left a deep hurt, and we were as flat tonight as we could be.”
Eric Tyler, one of the seniors the Raiders honored, agreed with his coach.
“The Carson loss was a tough one to swallow, and there definitely was a hangover,” he said. “I could tell from the mood in the hallway we just weren’t prepared to play. East was fired up, and it was a bad formula. They got every loose ball. They played harder than we did. They wanted it more.”
South senior Josh Medlin scored 11 points and Hill managed 10 with a late flurry, but high-scoring guards Shawn Spry and Qwan Rhyne combined for just 13, a few days after torching Carson for 47.
“We face-guarded both of them,” East guard Samuel Wyrick said. “We didn’t want them touching the ball because they can take over a game.”
Gobble and Samuel Wyrick hit 3s as East jumped out 10-3.
Wyrick hit another 3-pointer in the second quarter, and Conor Honeycutt made a long one as East maintained a lead.
Then Seth Wyrick, Samuel’s twin, ripped two 3s late in the first half to give the Mustangs a 32-22 lead at the break.
“I was feeling it some tonight, and Seth can shoot it when he gets opportunities,” Samuel said. “Those were clutch shots he hit. They gave us momentum at the half.”
Cold South (11-12, 4-7) couldn’t gain ground in the third quarter. Then Corpening had a flurry early in the fourth— soaring to block shots — as East went up by 13 points.
A 3-pointer by Tyler keyed a last-gasp charge that brought South within 53-47 with 30 seconds left, but free throws by Gobble and Donte Means finished off the Raiders.
Means hit six fourth-quarter free throws when South had to chase and foul, and he finished with a game-high 13 points.
“When you’re struggling, you try to find any little thing for motivation,” Ledbetter said. “South is a big rival and we wanted to knock them out of the playoffs.”
EAST ROWAN (55) — Means 13, Sa. Wyrick 9, Edwards 9, Gobble 8, Corpening 7, Se. Wyrick 6, Honeycutt 3, L’Hommedieu.
SOUTH ROWAN (51) — Medlin 11, Hill 10, Tyler 8, Spry 7, Rhyne 6, Corriher 3, Miller 2, Goldston 2, Wesley 2, Holbrook, Ouellette.

E. Rowan 12 20 9 14 — 55

S. Rowan 7 15 8 21 — 51