• 59°

Prep Basketball: North Rowan loses heartbreaker

WINSTON-SALEM — North Rowan guard Jalen Sanders drove hard in the final seconds, but his contested, physical shot from the right baseline didn’t drop and Sanders dropped to the floor in anguish and exhaustion.

Sanders and North Rowan lost 65-63  in a 2A Western Regional semifinal to unbeaten East Lincoln on Friday in the Joel Coliseum Annex.

“Sanders is a great player and he made really tough shots all night,” said East Lincoln coach Neil Hodges after his team dodged that final bullet. “We played good defense and we were fortunate he didn’t make the last one.”

Sanders got some contact on that final play, but he didn’t get the whistle he hoped for.

North Rowan (19-7) had the ball out of bounds underneath and had four seconds to shoot, so Sanders didn’t have time for patience. He had to go.

“Both of the Surratt brothers (Chazz and Sage)  ran at me as soon as I got the ball,” Sanders said. “I decided to try to get to the baseline and  get a shot up. It just didn’t fall.”

The Surratts combined for 48 points for the Mustangs to offset 19 points apiece by Sanders and sophomore Joseph Scott.

With the score tied 63-all in the stretch run, North Rowan’s Paris Hillie passed  to Alexis Archie in the paint, and it appeared Archie would have a layup. Instead Cameron Dollar made an athletic block, and  it led to Hayden Duggins scoring the decisive hoop for East Lincoln (23-0) on a fast break.

“I made a pump-fake and I thought I had it,” Archie said. “But their guy made a nice play.”

Early, it appeared North Rowan might be blown out. The Cavaliers didn’t score the first four minutes and they trailed 11-0 before Sanders finally got them on the board with two free throws.

Then Scott made the Cavaliers’ first field goal, and slowly they climbed back a point at a time.

“We were very tight at the start, but we still didn’t get into panic mode,”  said North Rowan coach Andrew Mitchell, who led his team to the regional for the fourth time in five years. “I think you saw two of the best juniors in the state out there tonight in Chazz Surratt and Jalen Sanders, and Jalen did a great job of controlling the tempo of the game.”

North Rowan owned the second quarter 22-11 and got even at 30-all at halftime when Paris Hillie drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

“North Rowan’s defense was creating some problems for us,” Hodges said. “Everyone on that team has quick hands.”

The second half was furious, with Scott getting repeated layups and Henderson Lentz finding the range on 3-pointers. Two free throws by Archie gave North Rowan its first lead, and North Rowan fans went wild,  but the Surratts always had an answer.

The biggest play of the night came when Scott flew in for a layup attempt with three minutes to go. That layup would’ve put North Rowan ahead by six points, but Chazz Surratt skied and blocked it. Moments later, East Lincoln scored, and North Rowan’s lead was down to two.

“Kids make amazing athletic plays now, and that was a stupendous play,” Hodges said. “There are times when Chazz just will not let us lose. He rescued us.”

It was a draining loss for the Cavaliers, who are very young and played again without injured standout Josh Handy. Last season they beat East Lincoln at home in the second round of the playoffs with a seasoned team. East Lincoln, which will take on Smoky Mountain on Saturday in the regional final, hasn’t lost since that game in Spencer.

“We had a good run  this year and we fought to the end,” Archie said. “We never feel like we’re out of a game and we never felt like we were out of this one.”


North Rowan (63): Sanders 19, Scott 19, Lentz 11, Archie 6, Sirleaf 5, Hillie 3, Shields, Jefferies.

East Lincoln (65): S. Surratt 28, C. Surratt 20, Duggins 11, Dollar 3, Ashley 3.

North Rowan        8      22    15   18   — 63

East Lincoln          19     11    16    19  — 65




Man faces charges in juvenile’s shooting on West Bank Street


RSS gets clean audit, firm says no misappropriations of school funds


Rowan County recalibrates plans for Woodleaf Community Park after missing out on grant funding


NC NAACP elects first woman as president; Salisbury’s Black finishes third


FDA OKs Pfizer vaccine for young kids


State news roundup: Davidson County parents charged in abuse of 6-week-old


COVID spread down substantially in North Carolina, state data shows


ACC eyes new headquarters options outside Greensboro


Rabid raccoon break-in forces Dan Nicholas Park staff to euthanize three animals


Real estate agent takes advantage of hot High Rock Lake market, earns award for $10 million in transactions

High School

High school girls golf: Mustangs finish 4th in 3A state tournament


Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family


Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor


Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street


RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council


Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets


North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations


RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November


Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only


Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery


Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door


Political Notebook: Rowan County elections supervisor speaks out after debate to replace him