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Area Sports Briefs: Six Rowan teams in basketball playoffs tonight

From staff reports

Six Rowan County basketball teams advanced to tonight’s second round of the state playoffs.

Only the Carson boys and Salisbury boys are at home tonight.

The third round is set for Saturday.

1A boys

(11) North Rowan at (6) Starmount, 6 p.m.

Winners of eight in a row,  North (18-8) makes the 50-mile trip to Boonville to take on the Starmount Rams (22-3).

North is playing its best ball of the season and is a dangerous team if it can make a few outside shots.

North’s free-throw shooting has improved, and the Cavaliers are a fierce offensive-rounding team with Dayjwuon Cooke and Brevin Goodlett hitting the boards.

Dajuan Clement has scored 31 points in North’s last two games to boost the offense.

Starmount dropped its conference tournament championship game to Wilkes Central. The Rams got a first-round bye in the playoffs, so they haven’t played since then.

Starmount got double-figure scoring in its most recent outing from 6-foot-6 Tavis Bridges, 6-4 Griffin Cass, 6-2 Eric Wiles and Ethan Barnes. Starmount also has a 6-11 player on the roster.

2A boys

(20) East Rutherford at (4) Salisbury, 7 p.m.

Despite a setback in the Central Carolina Conference Tournament finals against Thomasville, Salisbury (24-3) has won 12 of its last 13 games for coach Bryan Withers.

Withers, in his third season at Salisbury, played on the last Salisbury state championship team in 1987.

East Rutherford, despite a modest record (19-9) and that 20 seed comes into the game on a roll. East Rutherford’s Cavaliers  have won seven of their last nine and beat highly regarded South Point three times in the last three weeks.

East Rutherford is in Forest City, west of Shelby, and the visitors will have a trip of more than 100 miles to Salisbury.

Leading the Hornets will be senior guard Trell Baker. Salisbury’s strengths are depth and quickness.

Salisbury hasn’t won a second-rounder since 2011, a season in which East Rutherford finally stopped the Hornets in the regional.

East Rutherford, the 2A state champion in 2011, is  still guided by Brad “Bull” LeVine, one of the state’s more recognizable coaches.

East Rutherford is led by 6-5 senior Josh Searcy, who averages 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds. Christian Walker, a 6-5 junior, averages 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Expect a furious pace.Both teams want to go.

3A boys

(13) Hunter Huss at (4) Carson, 7 p.m.

The best season in Carson history continues.

Carson (24-2) is unbeaten at home, and the  crowd, familiar floor and goals should help the Cougars tonight against an athletic opponent.

Jamarius Hairston is having a terrific season for the Cougars, averaging better than 20 points per game.

Point guard Jailen Williams (985 career points) and sharpshooting forward Owen White also are among the county’s top five scorers.

Huss is a traditionally powerful school in Gastonia and won state championships in 1977, 1985 and 2011.

On Tuesday, Carson won its first playoff game since the 2013-14 season when the Cougars beat two mountain schools and reached the third round.

This will be a tough one for the Cougars. Huss (18-8) has won 16 of its last 18 games, with both losses in that stretch coming to Kings Mountain.

Huss is big. Blake Wilson, 6-6, averages 18.2 points, while 6-5 Sa’veon Falls averages 11 points and 7.3 rebounds.

3A girls

(10) Carson at (7) Robinson, 6:30 p.m.

Carson (24-3) makes the short, albeit congested, trip to Concord to take on the Bulldogs (16-10).

Carson had the stronger regular season and is perceived as the stronger team, but Carson was seeded second out of its league, while Robinson is the top seed from the South Piedmont Conference.

The teams were in the SPC together last season and are very familiar with each other.

Carson handled Robinson 67-49 and 59-49 last season. Carson point guard Olivia Gabriel poured in 45 in those two games, and she’s still directing the Cougars.

McKenzie Gadson still anchors Carson’s pressing defense, but freshmen shooters Ellie Wilhelm and Colbie Perry will be new players for Robinson to deal with.

Robinson has won its last  three, including a victory over Central Cabarrus in the SPC tourney championship game.

Juniors Jada McMillan and Jakiah Misenheimer combined for 37 points in Robinson’s first-round playoff win against Enka.

3A girls

(19) West Rowan at (3) Freedom, 6 p.m.

West Rowan’s girls are the biggest underdogs tonight of all the Rowan schools.

They’re on the road against one of the state’s traditional powers.  West will have about a 67-mile ride to get to Morganton.

Freedom (23-4) won state titles in 1989, 1994, 1995, 2002 and 2016, when a lot of people believed the Patriots  had the state’s strongest backcourt.

Freedom has won 12 in a row since losing to Watauga on Jan.12. Freedom beat Watauga in last week’s Northwestern Conference Tournament championship game.

Freedom’s 6-foot center CC Davenport is a shot-blocker. She had four blocks in one quarter against Watauga last week.

Madison Bailey is an outstanding shooter for the Patriots and made five 3-pointers in the conference tournament final. Other standouts are sophomore Blaikley Crooks and 6-1 freshman Adair Garrison.

Post players Egypt Alexander and Abigail Wilson combined for 44 points when West won in the first round of the playoffs at Parkwood.

2A girls

(19) South Rowan at (3) North Wilkes, 7 p.m.

South Rowan (18-8) has won nine of its last 10 games as it hits the road tonight.

The Raiders are traveling about 75 miles to Hays to take on the towering North Wilkes Vikings (24-3).

North Wilkes has won 19 of its last 20 games. It’s an  experienced team. Three seniors — 6-1 Savannah Billings, 5-10 Emily Phillips and fiery point guard Victoria Young — average  double figures.

South will need another huge game from junior Janiyah Downs, who scored 31 at Maiden in the first round. Riley Corriher, Tazah Hardin and Whitley Arnott also were strong in South’s first-round success.

South last won a second-round game in 2014.

Catawba men fall

Catawba’s men’s basketball team lost at Newberry, 92-84, on Wednesday.

Catawba shot  well from the field (47.5 percent) but couldn’t overcome 12-for-25 foul shooting.

Newberry was terrific from the foul line (25-for-29) and outscored Catawba dramatically from the 3-point line, 45-24.

Jeremy McLaughlin scored 21 for the Indians and pulled down 14 rebounds before fouling out. Jerrin Morrison had 17,  Malik Constantine 11, and Carter Phillips 10.

James Stepp shot 6-for-10 on 3-pointers and scored 27 for the Wolves.

Newberry cruised to a 51-34 lead at the break and held off a Catawba comeback try in the second half.

Catawba got within five with 22 seconds left.

Newberry (14-13, 8-11) swept the season series from the Indians (10-15, 6-13). Catawba won’t qualify for the SAC tournament.

CATAWBA (84) — McLaughlin 21, Morrison 17, Constantine 11, Barber 7, Jeffers 7, Robinson 7, Johnson 2, Cannon 2, Lentz, Childress.

NEWBERRY (92) — Stepp 27, Lange 17, Valentine 15, Bullard 8, Hill 6, Dietrich 6, Miller 5, Burton 5,  Gibson 3.

Catawba   34  50    84

Newberry 51  41 — 92

Catawba women lose

Twelve points in the second half?

Catawba’s women’s basketball team played without standouts Terri Rogers and Serena Brown on Wednesday and lost at Newberry, 59-39. The Indians were in good shape at halftime, tied 27-all, but just couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half.

Catawba  (13-13, 11-8) shot 20.8 percent for the game and continued a late-season slide. Catawba was 11-for-53 from the floor.

Taisha DeShazo led the Indians with eight points.

Meg Essex and Courtney Lyons scored 15 each for the Wolves (15-11, 10-9).

CATAWBA (39) — DeShazo 8, Webb 7, Barnes 6, Hodges 6, Stanback 5, Hallman 3, Gardner 2, McCollough 2.

NEWBERRY (59) — Essex 15, Lyons 15, Hill 10, Britten 7, McDermott 4, Lepaio 4, Getz 2, McCarty 1, White 1.

Catawba   15  12   6   6     39

Newberry 14  13  15 17  — 59

Prep football

West Rowan defensive lineman Devin Turner has been selected to play in the East-West All-Star Game this summer.

Turner was Rowan County and North Piedmont Conference Defensive Player of the Year and has signed with St. Andrews.

College golf

UNC Pembroke’s Alexandria Bare (South Rowan) shot even-par 72   to lead the Braves’ women’s golf team to its best round of the week on the way to an eighth-place finish at the Florida Southern-hosted Lady Moc Golf Classic on Tuesday.

Bare (80-77-72/229) shot up 19 spots on the individual leaderboard before settling into a tie for 25th place.

NCHSAA

  Eric Hudson, Jr. from West Mecklenburg High School and Carson Smith from Southeast Guilford High School have been named recipients of the NCHSAA Performance of the Week awards.

Each week two athletes in  NCHSAA competition are selected for this award from nominations received from media and school administrators.

Smith, a junior on the Falcons wrestling team, won the 3A 120-pound weight class at the 2018 NCHSAA Individual Wrestling State Championships. Smith knocked off the two-time state champion, Josh Blatt, from North Henderson, winning by a 7-0 margin.

Hudson, a junior at West Meck on the wrestling team, took home the 195-pound weight class state championship in the 4A ranks. Hudson was voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

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