North Rowan boys fall at North Stanly, 65-55
By Charles Curcio
Stanly News & Press
NEW LONDON — First place was on the line Tuesday night as the North Rowan visited North Stanly.
A win for the visiting Cavaliers meant extending the lead of 1.5 games in the standings over the Comets and idle Albemarle.
North Stanly needed a win to sweep the season series with North Rowan and take first place by a half game over the Cavaliers and a full game over the Bulldogs.
Early foul trouble for the Cavs and early struggles to score from the field led the visitors to a 10-point loss on the road, 65-55.
Dayjuwon Cooke led North Rowan (9-5, 8-2 YVC) with 15 points, despite being in foul trouble for much of the game. Derrick Page added 14 points for the Cavs.
Jason Doerr scored 18 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter for North Stanly (12-4, 8-1 YVC). Carson Lowder added 23 points for the Comets.
North Stanly shot a higher percentage in the game from the field, hitting 26-of-54 overall (48.1 percent) including 10-of-13 in the fourth quarter. The Comets hit 6-of-17 from the 3-point arc and 7-of-10 at the foul line.
North Rowan supplemented the team’s shooting from the field (18-of-53, 34 percent) by hitting 15-of-21 at the foul line (71.4 percent). The Cavs struggled from the outside, hitting 4-of-19 on 3-pointers (21.1 percent).
The Comets led by three points at two different points of the first quarter but a Chaz McCombs’ bucket with 40 seconds left pulled the Cavaliers within a point, 12-11.
Page put North Rowan ahead early in the second with a basket before a 7-0 Comets run, kicked off with an alley-oop dunk from Bryson Childress to Doerr.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Dajuan Clement tied the game, 19-19, with 3:29 left in the first half.
A Garrett Clark bucket then Lowder’s third made 3-pointer of the game with 2:11 left put the Comets up, 24-19.
The lead for North Stanly was as big as seven points early in the third, 30-23, on another Lowder triple but the visiting Cavs responded. A 9-3 push by North Rowan got the Cavs within a point, 33-32, on a Page 3-pointer at the 4:09 mark of the third.
North Stanly responded with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, with Childress scoring five of his nine points in the run to give the Comets their biggest lead of the night, 40-32, with 2:03 left.
Late in the third, Clement connected, getting North Rowan within six points, then the Cavs got within three points with 7:01 left in regulation on a Cooke put-back.
Through the middle part of the fourth, the Cavs trailed by seven but rallied to tie the game. An 11-4 run was capped off at the 4:07 mark by Quintous Smith whose bucket tied the game, 48-48.
Smith gave North Rowan the team’s first lead of the night with an old-fashioned 3-point play with 3:24 left, putting the Cavaliers up, 51-50.
Doerr answered with a 3-point play of his own 28 seconds later. The senior center drove the lane and launched a floater high into the air while getting bumped. The ball went high off the rim and dropped into the net. His free throw put North Stanly back ahead, 53-51.
Two Cooke free throws tied the game at 53 with 2:45 left, but another Doerr 3-point play on a reverse layup under the basket gave the Comets the lead, 56-53.
Cooke drove the right baseline on the next play and drew a foul but missed both free throws.
Smith came up with a big play for North Rowan with 1:47 left, stealing the ball from Doerr on a trap and taking it to the other end, drawing a foul on a layup attempt. He hit both free throws to pull the Cavaliers within one, 56-55.
Those points were the last of the game for North Rowan. Doerr drove past Smith and another Cavs defender for a layup with 1:28 left.
Doerr then blocked the drive of Goodlet and Childress drew a foul. Shooting the 1-and-1, Childress made it a two-possession game, 60-55, with 1:03 left.
Smith used a pick-and-roll to drive on North Rowan’s next possession and drew contact but the shot did not fall and the Comets rebounded, finding Lowder in the open floor for a layup.
Lowder ended the scoring with a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left.
Cavaliers head coach Martin Unger said Cooke was limited with foul trouble in the first half and his team played tremendously in the final two minutes of the game.
He added the Cavs “had some breakdowns on the defensive end. North Stanly took advantage of it … they are a good team. We took some ill-advised shots. Each guy was trying to do it themselves.
“We are getting better,” continued Unger. “We are still a young team, but we are learning. We have to take what we did in the first half and in crunch time, stick with it.”
Not having a lot of close games this season, Unger said Tuesday’s game at North Stanly was a good test for the team’s ultimate goal, to go deep in the playoffs “and they will all be tough.”
North Rowan travels back to Stanly County on Wednesday night when the Cavaliers go to Norwood to take on the South Stanly Rebel Bulls. South Stanly (6-8, 4-4 YVC) lost Tuesday night at home against Uwharrie Charter, 64-57.
NORTH ROWAN (55) — Dayjuwon Cooke 15, Derrick Page 14, Goodes 2, Clement 9, Smith 7, Goodlet 6, McCombs 2, Goodes 2, Broaddus, Colson, Davis.
NORTH STANLY (65) — Jason Doerr 29, Carson Lowder 23, Childress 9, Clark 2, Lowder 2, Lamp, Cord.
North Rowan 11 12 11 21 — 55
North Stanly 12 15 13 25 — 65