East boys thwarted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — Some nights Trey Ledbetter can see a world of potential in the East Rowan boys basketball team. Other nights he sees reality.
The Mustangs’ fourth-year coach enjoyed a slice of each in Tuesday’s 70-52 SPC loss at Northwest Cabarrus.
“We show flashes,” Ledbetter said after East (2-6, 0-5) absorbed its sixth straight defeat and anchored itself in the league basement. “But our flashes don’t last long enough. We’ve got to sustain our play over 32 minutes. If we do that we’ll be fine, but the better team won tonight. That’s for sure.”
Indeed. Northwest (4-3, 2-2 SPC) placed five scorers in double figures and essentially had their way with Mustangs — save for a dizzying, four-minute span in the fourth quarter.
“We got away from what we were doing,” winning coach Eric Jackson said. “We weren’t moving as much. We weren’t as aggressive as we had been.”
East received an unexpected spark from 6-foot-1 sophomore Naquis Caldwell, a reserve forward who provided seven fourth-quarter points, including two on an industrial-strength jam. His effort helped ER reduce a 29-point deficit to 64-49 with 2:11 remaining.
“He just came in and had energy — something no one else had,” teammate Donte Means said after netting a game-high 18 points. “Once he learns everything he’ll be a big part of this team.”
East was outscored 11-1 over the first three minutes and fell behind 29-11 when NWC’s Matthew Wheet sank two free throws following a bizarre technical foul infraction. Caldwell — a recent addition to East’s varsity squad — was listed in the ER scorebook but not Northwest’s, the official book. “That’s how it was explained to me,” Ledbetter said. “And that’s all I can say.”
Two late baskets by Anthony Caldwell and another by Wheet helped Northwest salt away what turned into a rugged, gritty victory.
“A lot of games aren’t going to be pretty, especially in this conference,” Jackson said. “But sometimes you’ve got to get down-and-dirty to win.”
EAST (52) — Means 18, Se.Wyrick 9, Caldwell 7, Sa.Wyrick 6, Love 5, Wyse 2, Corpening 2, Soles 2, Bell 1, Moses, Hester.
NW CABARRUS (70) — Caldwell 15, Hathcock 11, Wheet 11, Davis 10, Cummings 10, Farquharson 7, Murray 6.

E. Rowan 10 11 12 19 — 52
NW Cabarrus 14 26 20 10 — 70