Gallagher column: The “other” all-county awards

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2013

It was a year of miracles for Rowan County basketball this past season.
The biggest?

East Rowan’s season ended without coach Danielle Porter having her baby. He stayed put the entire season.
“He’s a team player,” laughed Porter.
When J.M. Robinson sent the Mustangs home for good in the sectional playoffs, she was four days past due.
Well, Daniel Hampton Porter finally said hello to the world on March 5, weighing in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces and standing 21.25 inches.
Porter said Daniel came out passing the ball like his mother used to, and he’ll be working on beating the press soon.
Yes, that’s the Miracle of the Year Award — and here are plenty of others the athletic banquets might have forgotten:
Grand Opening: In the first game of the year, South’s Avery Locklear scored 43 points in an 82-65 win over Robinson.
Streak Busters: Carson’s girls ended Salisbury’s 49-game county win streak, 60-48.
The Grizzly Adams Award: East’s Harrison Bell got his picture in the Post for basketball and in the outdoors section for bagging a deer.
Diaper Dandy Award: The best freshmen were North’s Jalen Sanders and West’s Khaila Hall.
Best Defensive Performance: South Rowan’s boys led West Iredell 18-0 after one quarter on their way to a 73-39 win.
Best Student Section: South Rowan’s Raider Rowdies have reclaimed the top spot.
It’s always tough between Carson, West, South and East, but the Rowdies would not be denied.
Best Place to watch a game: North Rowan. The place was usually packed and the noise was as intimidating to YVC teams as the Cavaliers’ dominating players.
Performance of the Year: In an 82-74 win over West Davidson, South’s Cassidy Chipman scored 33 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and went 20 of 27 from the foul line.
Runnerup: West Rowan star Shay Steele scored 24 points in the second quarter alone and finished with 34 in a comeback win over East.
Runnerup: East’s 6-foot-4 Karleigh Wike had a triple double against A.L. Brown: 17 points, 16 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
The Kobe Bryant Award: Carson’s Tre Williams had the most points in a game, 37, in a loss to Statesville.
Carson’s Kelly Dulkoski had 36 in a game.
Best First Name: Special, as in Washington, of North.
Surprise of the Year: West sophomore Celexus Long came out of nowhere to lead the Falcons in scoring.
The Mr. (and Miss) Clutch Award: Long hit a jumper with 0.9 seconds left to beat East.
Runnerup: Deterria Connor hit the winning free throw in overtime to beat North Rowan.
Runnerup: Another Connor, Michael, hit the winning layup at the buzzer to beat Monroe in the sectional final.
Dunk of the Year: To North’s Josh Handy, who brought the fans out of their seats against West Montgomery with a high-flying, YVC-crying, rump-roasting, bun-toasting, Josh-I-am jam.
And the kid’s only a freshman? Watch out rims.
Runnerup: South’s Tavadis Wesley took a lob from Eric Tyler and slammed against East.
Runnerup: North’s 6-8 Malik Ford. Pick a dunk. Any dunk. There were too many to decide on a favorite.
School Record: In Brian Lytton’s first year as coach, North Rowan’s girls became a scoring machine, as they showed by throwing 91 on East Montgomery.
Family Affair: North Rowan’s Oshon West and Special Washington are a brother-sister act.
Fan Favorite: Carson’s Andrew Purcell. The place went wild when he came in and he usually accommodated them with a three.
Most Photogenic: West’s Steele (32) and Carson’s Dulkoski (26) had the most photos in the Post. West’s Nycieko Dixon, Salisbury’s Brielle Blaire and East’s Wike all had over 20.
Carson’s Williams led the boys with 23.
And finally …

We couldn’t forget the Game of the Year, Carson at South, in the wackiest, wildest finish you could ever imagine.
In a tie game, South’s Qwan Rhyne drained a jumper with two seconds left and the Raider Rowdies storm the court to celebrate a 69-67 South win.
But wait. The refs put four seconds (four? four?) back on the clock.
Carson’s Rameiq Howard fires a baseball pass to a leaping Colton Laws, who finds Williams for a three at the buzzer.
Carson wins 70-69 and the Cougars celebrate a miracle win.
Not quite as much of a miracle as Daniel Hampton Porter staying put for his mommy, but a miracle just the same.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or