Lentz’ 25 leads North Rowan past Raiders
By Dennis Davidson
SALISBURY — North Rowan senior Henderson Lentz proved again that he is a coachable kid.
Coach Andrew Mitchell spoke with Lentz on Wednesday night, after a 58-47 loss to West Rowan in the first round of the Dale’s Sporting Goods/Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Goodman Gym.
“He can flat out shoot the basketball and I told him that for us to have a chance to win, we need him to score — maybe even 25 or 30 points per game,” said Mitchell, after Thursday’s 50-37 consolation bracket win over South Rowan.
Lentz obliged to the tune of 25 points — 20 in the first half against the Raiders. The 6-3 guard came out firing, nailing three of four 3-point shots in the first quarter. All touched nothing but net.
“My teammates were giving me the ball and was I just firing it up and they were going in today,” said the modest Lentz. “South put a box-and-one on me in the second half and that made it a little more difficult. But I’m just glad we got the win.
“Last night (Wednesday) against West, there were some times that I could have shot over my defender and I didn’t, so being aggressive is something I need to keep working on,” continued Lentz.
Lentz hit two more 3-pointers in the second period and another in the third quarter, giving him six treys for the game. Lentz was 7-for-13 from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 at the foul line. No other North player approached double figures.
“Henderson comes early to practice and stays late, just shooting,” added Mitchell. “I told him that he has worked too hard on his game to not shoot any more than he does. He’s a young man who is so humble and worries about his teammates first, but it will actually help this team more if he is more selfish and shoots more. He’s our shooter, for sure. And his teammates won’t mind, because he won’t be just taking shots, he’ll be making shots.”
Meanwhile, South (0-12) again struggled to score, trailing 14-7 after the first quarter, and 28-12 at halftime.
Things got a little better for the Raiders in the second half behind the scoring of Bailey Graham, Dillon Kluttz and Zach Powers. South won the third period, 14-9, cutting the deficit to 37-26.
However, North scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from Quintous Smith, for a comfortable 44-26 lead.
Graham scored 17 points to lead South, followed by eight from Kluttz. Powers, a 6-7 junior post player, had a solid game, scoring seven points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
“We played with better effort today,” said South coach Andre McCain. “And we had a chance to cut things down even more, but then had some late turnovers. “If we play with maximum effort all the time, then we can give ourselves a chance. It was much better than Wednesday’s game (66-23 loss to Salisbury).
“Friday, we get a chance to play again (vs. East Rowan) and build from this and take a leap,” continued McCain. “I told our guys … ‘let’s not take steps, let’s take leaps and get to the next level.'”
Mitchell was happy that his team snapped a four-game losing streak and got back to even at 5-5.
“We’re just trying to find our way right now and we played a lot of different combinations,” said Mitchell. “South has a good program and I like what Coach McCain is doing there, so it wasn’t about coming in here and trying to beat them by 40 points. It was about getting some kids ready to play and trying to find the right combinations to get us going.”
NOTES: Both teams shot poorly, North making 16-of-44 shots (36 percent) from the field while South was 11-of-43 (26 percent) … South has 19 turnovers, compared to 14 for the Cavaliers.
SOUTH ROWAN (37) — Kluttz 8, Graham 17, Powers 7, Shaver 4, Harrington, Peacock 1, Sellers, Corriher, Childers.
NORTH ROWAN (50) — Sirleaf 2, Scott 6, Cook 5, Goodlett 4, Lentz 25, Harrison, Smith 5, Cuthbertson 1, Herron-Cuthbertson, Clement, Page 2, Ellis.
South Rowan 7 5 14 11 — 37
North Rowan 14 14 9 13 — 50