• 72°

North Rowan boys basketball preview

LAST SEASON’S RECORD: 20-2, 10-0 CCC (league champion)



COACH: Andrew Mitchell (7th year, 139-28)

By David Shaw


SPENCER —When we last heard from the North Rowan boys basketball team, it was making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Cavs were ranked No. 2 and had visions of a 2A state championship dancing in their heads when their 2015-16 season ended with a thud, not thunder. In silence, not screams.

“We’ve tried to put all that behind us,” said coach Andrew Mitchell, recalling North’s season-ending debacle at Salisbury. “It was a decision we didn’t agree with, but the state said we violated a rule, so we accepted it and moved on. It hurt us, but we’re not letting it hold us back.”

North was forced to sit out the CCC tournament and a possible run to a state title, which still boils the brain. But instead of getting bitter, this year’s team has gotten better.

“Eventually,” Mitchell pointed out. “Not right now, but eventually we may be better than last season.”

North won three of its first four games this year, but Mitchell seems focused on what the Cavs haven’t accomplished. “We’re not very big,” he offered. “We’ll have to rebound-by-committee. We’re a terrible free throw shooting team. Against Mooresville we went 20-for-48 from the line. And against Butler, the No. 2 team in the state, we lost by 12, turned the ball over 21 times and missed nine free throws. All that has to change.”

If a positive attitude carries any weight, it will. North has a group of forward-looking, heads-on-straight student-athletes.

“I heard LeBron say it on TV,” Mitchell explained. “Be a star in your role. If you’re really good at rebounding, be a great rebounder. If you’re offense, be good on offense. If you’re a leader, be a leader. The guys have bought into that. Everybody’s trying to do something to contribute to the team.”

It’s a team centered around returning starters Henderson Lentz and Joseph Scott. Lentz is a 6-3 senior who plays like a ’68 Chevelle — turbo-charged and sporty. “He has no fear,” Mitchell said. “He can out-sprint everybody, a three-point shooter who can show you the ball, put it on the floor and get all the way to the basket. The best is yet to come for him.”

Scott, a senior swingman, averaged 15.2 points per game last season and was named all-conference and all-county. He’ll reach 1,000 career points around Christmas and is motivated by personal circumstances. “He’s only 6-1, but he’s probably our best, back-to-the-basket post player,” Mitchell indicated. “And our best defender.”

Junior Malon Herron-Cuthbertson fortifies North’s backcourt. A six-foot junior transfer from Carson, he and Lentz are the team gym rats. “We have to put them out so we can go home,” Mitchell said. “Malon will be a college player for somebody.”

Sophomore center Dayjuwon Cooke is a lanky, 6-3 and 175 — but don’t let that fool you. “He’s relentless on the boards,” Mitchell said. “He can outjump everybody and doesn’t mind getting bruised. He’ll bruise you right back.”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for 6-3 sophomore Brevin Goodlett, who played for East Rowan last season. The forward cut his teeth in North’s middle school system. “A beast on the boards,” Mitchell said. “Once he develops his outside shot he’ll be unstoppable.”

Senior point guard Joe Harrison is a third-year letterman and will be the first off North’s bench. Football double-dippers Alonzo Sirleaf, Daylon Cuthbertson and Josh Ellis, all seniors, have joined the team this week.

“I love this team,” Mitchell concluded. “I love the leadership. After all they’ve been through they’re still here and still leading.”


Henderson Lentz, senior forward — The team’s spiritual leader, he’s a Lutheran junior minister and motivational speaker. Limited to 16 games last season, he rode shotgun, averaged 8.3 points-per-night and made the all-CCC squad. This year he takes the wheel. He is, as Red said to Pop in the baseball movie, a natural.

Joseph Scott, senior guard — Began the season with 728 career points, but rebounds with wrecking-ball force. Academically strong, he’s already been accepted at Winston-Salem State. The smart money says make him an offer.








China Grove

Reaper’s Realm owners promise beefed-up security after weekend shooting


Contractor expands local footprint, takes on county’s coronavirus projects


Home Improvement: Holiday gifts to spark home improvement ideas


Political Notebook: Local parties will host watch parties for presidential debate


China Grove man cited for driving through school field


October closure hearings set for Faith, Enochville elementary schools


Police say man gave false name after high speed chase, crashing into lumber truck


Nearly 400 cases considered currently active in the county


Rowan-Cabarrus Community College creates free course to help parents tackle virtual learning


New unemployment claims down in August, could indicate positive trend for businesses


Salisbury man faces drug possession charges after overdose call


Police: Man charged after children call 911 from neighbor’s house

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?


Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak


Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation


Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3


New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day


In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising


From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community


In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help


Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system


School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures


Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice