• 46°

Middle school: North Rowan boys take title, 63-44

North Rowan breezes by Bulldogs for title

JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST…
West Rowan’s Athan Gill (24) shoots for two of his 35 points in Wednesday’s game

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — West Rowan Middle students chanted Athan Gill’s name when he left the floor with 35 points etched in the scorebook and 39 seconds left on the clock.

But as marvelous as Gill was on Wednesday evening, it was the North Rowan Middle Mavericks who hoisted the championship trophy. They had two standouts, Darell Carpenter (21 points) and seventh-grader Mike Geter (15). Together, that pair of slashers off-set Gill, who was scoring from everywhere.

“Gill is one heck of a player,” North coach Anthony Hipps said. “He was hard to deal with. We knew he would be.”

Despite the thrills and skills the 6-foot-1 Gill provided, North took a relatively easy 63-44 victory. The Mavericks were tough and team-oriented and they were quicker and longer than the Bulldogs.

Second-seeded North (13-4) had to survive rival Knox on Tuesday to get to the final. Fourth-seeded West (11-6) stunned top-seeded Mooresville to get there. North expected to see a Mooresville team that the Mavericks had lost to twice in Wednesday’s championship matchup, but West, playing on in its home floor, knocked off the high-powered Red Imps.

“I could say beating Mooresville took something out of us, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” West coach Ashley Poole said. “We just didn’t play well, didn’t play today like we did against Mooresville. We usually make a lot of 3-pointers, but North’s defense was good. They used their quickness to take the 3-point line away from us.”

Gill started fast. His confident 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 11-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But the Mavericks owned the second quarter. Specifically, Carpenter owned it. He scored 15 of his 21 in that decisive six-minute period.

“Carpenter dropped 24 on Knox when we really needed it and then he had another big game tonight,” Hipps said. “I was worried about what that Knox game would take out of us. But as soon as I got here our guys were telling me they were ready to play — and they were ready.”

Carpenter attacked the rim and scored with a variety of twisting moves throughout the second quarter. North was turning sticky defense into easy offense. By halftime, North led 30-23 and the game had turned completely around.

“We picked up our defense a lot in the second quarter,” Carpenter said. “We wanted to be champions.”

Carpenter passed the baton to Geter in the third quarter. Geter’s 10-point quarter was the knockout punch. By the end of the quarter, North led 50-31, and there was no way West was coming back from that.

“We were playing better in the third quarter, moving the ball a lot better,” Geter said. “And even if we missed our first shot, we got the rebound. We had a lot of second-chance points.”

There was nothing left to be decided in the fourth quarter — except how many Gill could score. He had 13 in the final period, 19 in the second half. He executed a couple of spinning post-up moves that had fans screaming.

“We always try to play fast, but we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to tonight,” Gill said. “And North Rowan is really good. That’s a very fast team.”

Hipps, a cousin of North Rowan 2,000-point scorer Sophilia Hipps, said the path to the championship was a smooth one, with hard-working youngsters who have been well-schooled by his coaching predecessors and mentors Lamar Wilkerson and Reggie McConneaughey.

“I told our guys that they deserved this championship, but they still had to go out there on the floor and earn it,” Hipps said. “Everything you get in life has to be earned. Our guys earned this championship by playing hard and playing together.”

WEST ROWAN (44) — Gill 35, Connolly 4, Simpson 4, Poole 1, Greene.

NORTH ROWAN (63) — Carpenter 21, Geter 15, Whitley 9, O’Kelly 8, McArthur 4, Williams 4, Smith 1, Stinson 1.

WR Middle    11     12     8     13  — 44

NR Middle      7     23    20   13  — 63

 

Comments

Local

Local state trooper, firefighter returns home after Army deployment

Local

Blast from the past: Concordia Lutheran Church opens time capsule from previous century

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with damaging video camera, tresspassing

Crime

North Carolina man faces over 300 sex-related charges

News

Coastal flooding along Outer Banks closes roads

Nation/World

GOP hopeful Supreme Court battle will help shift election

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives