East keeps South winless in 7th place game
By Marny Hendrick
SALISBURY — It was a seventh place game in the Dale’s/Sam Moir Christmas Classic, featuring two teams with a combined single win. But East Rowan and South Rowan put on an impressive basketball show Wednesday morning at Goodman Gym.
The Mustangs (2-11) battled back behind freshman Brevin Goodlett to win a tense contest, 62-59, as the Raiders (0-13) missed their best shot at a win so far this season.
Trailing 53-51, early in the fourth period, East got just enough of a margin to win when Goodlett, a 6-2 forward, came through with a three point play with 4:20 left to put his team up, 56-53. The Mustangs then protected the ball and managed the clock down the stretch to hold on for the win, snapping an 11-game losing streak.
“I just kept going hard to the basket and trying to draw fouls,” the soft-spoken freshman Goodlett said after scoring a career-high 22 points in the game. “It feels good to finally get a win.”
The Mustangs maintained the slim margin down the stretch by connecting on six of 10 free throws.
“I knew it was going to be a hard-fought game,” said East Coach Kurt Misenheimer. “Both of us were just looking for a win. South is a really scrappy team and they hit a lot of shots, a lot of contested shots.”
No one on the Raiders’ roster hit more shots than senior Trey Littlejohn who posted his own career-best 25 points, mostly by tormenting the Mustangs with a succession of penetrating drives. “Trey really stepped up as a senior,” South coach Andre McCain said of his speedy, 5-9 guard. ” I told him and all the seniors that this was their last Christmas tournament, so go all out and give it your best.”
Littlejohn, Ahmod Hester (14 points) and long range shooter Colton Childers (14 points) sparked South to a torrid start, leading, 18-12, after one period. But East battled back behind Goodlett and slashing forward Austin Love to catch up at 23-23. East led, 30-26, at halftime.
“Coach keeps telling us we are getting better every game,” Love said after posting 17 points in the win. “We have just got to believe it. We finally pulled one out and I hope we can keep the train rolling.”
South refused to fold, however, as Littlejohn’s two free throws then a layup by Tyrese Shaver put the Raiders back on top, 53-51, with 6:39 left to play. But East pushed ahead for good on a Naquise Caldwell drive, followed by Goodlett’s crucial and-one play on a scooping lay-up.
East enjoyed a big advantage at the foul line hitting 23 of 31 while South made nine of 10. The Raiders did control the boards against the taller Mustangs, 23-13, including 10 offensive rebounds.
Both teams return to South Piedmont conference play next Tuesday with East hosting Central Cabarrus and South traveling to league leader Robinson. The two county rivals will have a rematch next Friday at South.
S. Rowan (59) — Littlejohn 25, Colson Childers 14, Hester 14, Shaver 4, Rhyne, Connor Childers, Peacock, Barringer, Clodfelter.
E. Rowan (62) — Brevin Goodlett 22, Love 17, Caldwell 7, Bravon Goodlett 6, Morton 4, File 4, Scruggs 2, Sprinkle, Shuping.
South Rowan 18 8 23 10 — 59
East Rowan 12 18 21 11 — 62