North Rowan swept at home by Thomasville
By David Shaw
SPENCER — The following is not a misprint:
“We needed this loss.”
That’s North Rowan senior Joe Scott, shedding light on Friday’s 58-55 CCC loss to visiting Thomasville — a slop-fest that dropped the Cavaliers below .500 for the fourth time this season.
“We always came out in past years, got ourselves together and beat Thomasville,” Scott added. “Tonight, we were laid back, didn’t play to the best of our ability. Hopefully this will wake us up and push us to play harder.”
North (7-8, 2-1) suffered its first loss to Thomasville in 28 years — though the teams were in different conferences and didn’t play for many of those. The Bulldogs (12-3, 2-0) ascended into first place by building a nine-point halftime lead and holding off North’s frantic, late-game charge.
“We just haven’t practiced these type of situations enough to be able to handle them,” said North coach Andrew Mitchell. “We don’t have a true point guard and that’s what it came down to. We needed someone to quarterback our offense.”
Instead, the Cavaliers turned the ball over three times in the hard-to-watch final minute and left with more than just their egos bruised.
“It’s something to learn from,” senior Henderson Lentz said after scoring a team-high 21 points. “Every time we’ve lost, we’ve learned something.”
North has learned so much from its mistakes it decided to make a few more in the fourth quarter. It inched as close as 49-48 when sophomore Bravin Goodlett twisted down the lane for a spinning layup with 5:15 remaining. That’s when Thomasville’s Jahare Taylor-Thomas — a 5-foot-10 point guard extraordinaire — grabbed hold of the game, squeezed tight and never let go.
“We practice situations like that,” the senior chirped after topping all scorers with 26 points. “We practice coming from four points behind, staying under control when it gets out of hand.”
Taylor-Thomas may not have been the best player on the court, but he arguably made the game’s biggest basket with 2:31 to play. He converted Thomasville’s last field goal on a fast-break layup following a North turnover, providing a 57-51 lead.
“He’s definitely our team leader in every phase,” said winning coach James Atkinson. “He finds ways to help us be successful and not just by scoring points. He does so many other things. It’s nice to have him on the floor anytime.”
Taylor-Thomas was particularly helpful in the waning seconds, when the teams exchanged giveaways at a frenzied pace. It was still a two-point game when Scott swiped a ball deep in the Thomasville end and immediately requested a timeout with 12.5 seconds to go. The Cavs emerged from their huddle, brought the ball down court and promptly turned it over when Scott’s bounce pass to teammate Alonzo Sirleaf was mishandled near the North baseline.
“Just a miscommunication,” Scott explained. “We rushed it too much. We got Thomasville to make that turnover and then gave it right back.”
The Bulldogs secured the win when Shaiquawn Wise hit the second of two free throws — his only point of the game — with one-tenth of a second on the clock.
“Truth be told, we’re at our best when the game is sloppy,” Atkinson said afterward. “We kind of thrive off that kind of play.”
They did, leaving Mitchell and his staff scratching their heads.
“We told the guys, that’s what they want to do,” he said. “They want to play football. They want to intimidate and get in your head. For the most part we did a good job staying focused and not buying into that. We know we’ll see them again.”
THOMASVILLE (58) — Taylor-Thomas 26, Byrd 18, Whiteside 4, Johnson 4, Jenkins 3, Cunningham 2, Wise 1.
NORTH ROWAN (55) — Lentz 21, Scott 15, Sirleaf 6, Goodlett 6, Herron-Cuthbertson 3, Watkins 2, Cooke 1, Page 1, Harrison, Cuthbertson.
Thomasville 18 19 10 11 — 58
North Rowan 11 17 17 10 — 55
NORTH GIRLS FALL AGAIN
SPENCER — North Rowan’s last-minute charge up the hill was repelled Friday night, lifting visiting Thomasville to a 48-46 CCC victory.
The Cavs (1-13, 0-3) squandered a nine-point halftime lead and found themselves down, 46-40, after junior guard Dee Long converted both ends of a one-and-one with 1:01 remaining. North’s Bil’izah Connor drove for three layups in the last 46 seconds, drawing the hosts within 47-46 with five seconds to play.
Senior Brianna White scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half for North. Connor added 15 points. Long paced all scorers with 30 points for Thomasville (3-10, 1-1), including 18 in the decisive third period.
THOMASVILLE (48) — Long 30, Gales 10, Hart 4, Gladden 2, Nelson 2.
NORTH ROWAN (46) — Connor 15, White 15, Godfrey 7, Davis 4, Evans 2, Joyner 3, Chambers 1, Robinson, Shoaf.
Thomasville 8 8 22 10 — 48
North Rowan 13 12 11 10 — 46
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