Boys Basketball: Mooresville romps in final
By Mike London
LANDIS — Parity was a word tossed around the league all season, but the seventh-grade boys basketball championship game proved to be anything but equal.
Top-seeded Mooresville romped against second-seeded Erwin, 41-20, on Wednesday evening at Corriher-Lipe Middle school. A full house watched Mooresville’s Red Imps dominate from the outset.
Erwin (11-6) may have played its worst game, while Mooresville (16-1) probably playing its best game of the season.
It was 11-0 after the first quarter, and Erwin never threatened to get back into it. Erwin looked like a boxer who had taken a punch to the Adam’s Apple shortly after the bell rang.
“I felt like our kids came out nervous,” Erwin coach Eric Mulkey said. “Then we got down 11-0 and we looked out of sorts and angry. After that we didn’t play with the discipline that we usually play with.”
Give credit to Mooresville for an awesome performance. Even coach Napoleon Lowery III didn’t see it coming because he wasn’t thrilled with how his team looked in a 39-27 semifinal win against China Grove.
“In the semis, my guys were all over the place and just couldn’t get it together,” Lowery said. “But they were a different team today, and I think that was because this one was for a championship. They played with an edge about them that I haven’t seen all year.”
Mulkey was reasonably confident going in. When the teams squared off recently in the regular season, Erwin held an eight-point lead in the third quarter before the Red Imps rallied.
But no rallies were required this time.
Kane Kepley finally scooped in Erwin’s first points in the second quarter, but Mooresville was in control, 22-7, at halftime and quickly pushed out to a 20-point lead in the early stages of the third quarter to squash any comeback dreams.
“They were making a lot of shots and we weren’t making any,” Mulkey summed up.
Mooresville’s big guys controlled the paint, soaring to block shots. Erwin couldn’t get to the rim for layups and only managed two 2-point field goals in the entire game. Erwin’s usual leading scorers — big man Cameron Padgett, quick slasher Damario Chalk and Kepley, a guard — never got going. Kepley and Gavin Clement scored five points each.
Mooresville lost once this season. That setback was to middle-of-the-pack West Rowan.
“My guys just sort of outplayed themselves today,” Lowery said. “They didn’t want to lose.”
While the season crashed to a halt Wednesday, Mulkey expressed a lot of pride in his team. After all, the Eagles beat everyone in the league at least once — except Mooresville.
“I was fortunate to get the coaching job here, and I had a group of great kids who are going to do special thingsl,” Mulkey said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way this team fought. We won a lot of tough games.”
ERWIN (20) — Kepley 5, Clement 5, Chalk 4, Valley 3, Jennings 2, Padgett 1.
MOORESVILLE (41)— Amstutz 10, Reid 9, Howell 6, Stewart 5, Hobbs 2, Borlase 2, Wilson 2, Bellamy 2, Kennedy 2, Miller 1.
Erwin 0 7 5 8 — 20
Mooresville 11 11 13 6 — 41