South Iredell’s boys outscore East Rowan, 83-77
By Marny Hendrick
GRANITE QUARRY — The East Rowan Mustangs put together one of its best offensive efforts in a long while Friday night on their home court. Unfortunately, the South Iredell Vikings were a little bit better.
In a battle of third-place North Piedmont Conference teams, the Vikings started hot and never cooled off in posting an 83-77 win over the Mustangs.
“I told the guys that offensively, that was probably the best game the team has played for me in years,” said head coach Kurt Misenheimer. “But at the end of the day, we allowed 83 points and if you allow that many, you aren’t going to win, especially in high school.”
South Iredell (9-6, 2-1 NPC) used a combination of mid-range jumpers and penetrating drives to place four players in double figures and hold off a number of East rallies. The Mustangs (8-8, 1-2 NPC) led late in the first quarter, but an 11-0 run by the Vikings gave them a 14-point lead just before halftime.
East mounted a furious rally in the third period behind guard Gavin Sprinkle (26 points, seven 3-pointers) and 6-7 center Elton Hooper (21 points, 12 rebounds) to close to within 55-53 at the 2:31-mark. But a three-point play by guard Holland Dowdy, then a pair of slam dunks by Ty Everhart built the lead back to 66-55 at the end of the quarter.
Down the stretch, the Mustangs used a pair of threes by Sprinkle and a driving dunk by Hooper to get within 72-69 with about two minutes left. The Vikings then proceeded to nail 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:30 to hold on for the win.
“I am not heartbroken, but I am dissatisfied on the defensive end,” Misenheimer said. “We have got to get stops and get consecutive stops down the stretch. But I thought we moved the ball better than we have all season, so we are going to build on that.”
The Mustangs drained a total of 12 three-point shots in the game, led by Sprinkle’s seven treys. Hooper dominated inside, often against two or three collapsing defenders.
“I just wanted to win,” Hooper said. “I did pretty well, especially staying out of foul trouble like I have been lately. We are getting closer and closer to where we want to be as a team.”
Following Sprinkle and Hooper in the scoring was sophomore guard David Jordan with 15 points, including a couple of 3-pointers. Landon Shuping and Sammy Pinckney contributed six points each.
For the Vikings, sophomore guard Austin Edds led the way with 22 including three treys. The 6-4 forward Everhart notched 20, mostly around the basket while Derrick Dulin scored 13 and Greg Liechty added 12.
East Rowan will be off until next Friday when they host Statesville in another key NPC game. In the meantime, Misenheimer says his team will focus primarily on one thing …”defense.”
SOUTH IREDELL (83) —Edds 22, Everhart 20, Dulin 13, Liechty 12, Dowdy 6, Oglietti 4, Aeschliman 4, Pellegrino 2.
EAST ROWAN (77) — Sprinkle 26, Hooper 21, Jordan 15, Shuping 6, Pinckney 6, G. Hinceman 2, Bennett 1, Jefferson.
South Iredell 24 20 22 17 — 83
East Rowan 21 14 20 22 — 77