East Rowan boys win over Raiders in OT, 53-42

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

By Marny Hendrick


GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan just needed somebody to step up when it counted.

The Mustangs got the boost they needed in the end from one likely source and an unlikely one as they pulled away from county rival South Rowan Wednesday night, 53-42, in overtime.

First-year player Mark Spry took full advantage of his first varsity start by scoring 13 points, including a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 40-40, at the end of regulation. Big man (6-7) Elton Hooper provided an inspirational dunk late in the fourth quarter, then scored on a breakaway to open overtime as East never looked back.

“We had to get the win somehow,” Hooper said, after posting 10 points and eight rebounds. “Somebody had to do it, so why not me? ”

Several times earlier in the game, Hooper tried to power inside against South big men Zach Powers and Tyrese Shaver and got his shots rejected. But he kept plugging away until just over four minutes were left in regulation. East trailed the Raiders, 35-31, when Hooper shoved past Powers and slammed home an emphatic dunk.

“For a while there, we stopped believing in ourselves a little bit,” East coach Kurt Misenheimer said. “Then Elton threw down that dunk and that gave us energy.”

East still trailed, 40-37, after a pair of free throws by South’s Bailey Graham with just under a minute left in regulation. That was when Spry, a 6-1 junior who got the start for injured guard Bryson Sprinkle, came through to show he deserved more playing time. He hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, then with the clock ticking below 10 seconds, Spry buried a long one from the right corner to tie the game and force overtime.

“I got loose tonight when I went to the Y before the game and took some shots,” Spry said. “After that, my shot was just on. I just felt it.”

Right out of the gate in overtime, East (3-4) took the lead for good as Hooper broke free for a layup. The Mustangs then held off the Raiders by getting a clutch 3-pointer from Gabe Hinceman (12 points), then connecting on 6-for-6 from the foul line.

“It was really an ugly game for a while,” Misenheimer said, as his team managed just 13 points in the middle two quarters. “But both teams played very good defense and it was a win for us. So I will take that.”

South Rowan (3-3) was led by Bailey Graham with 17 and Childers with 9. The Raiders get back to Central Carolina Conference play this Friday at Lexington High. East Rowan is at home Friday with a non-conference game against West Stanly.

SOUTH ROWAN (42) — Graham 17, Childers 9, Kluttz 8, Powers 6, Shaver 2, Jones, Oglesby.

EAST ROWAN (53) — Spry 13, Hinceman 12, Hooper 10, Jefferson 8, Scruggs 4, Bennett 4, Jordan 2.

South Rowan      10    7    15     8     2 — 42

East Rowan        17     7     6    10   13 — 53