High school basketball: North’s Cooke in the book for 38
By Mike London
SPENCER — Dayjuwon Cooke scored 38 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in North Rowan’s 86-54 Yadkin Valley Conference win against Uwharrie Charter on Friday.
It was the biggest scoring night for anyone in the program since 1990 when Larry Dixon, now a University of South Florida assistant coach, scored 38 against Sun Valley.
Cooke’s career night — his previous high was 26 — tied him with Dixon and Antione Sifford (1986 vs. East Rowan) for the fourth-biggest offensive night in school history. David Chapman poured in 41 against Davie County in 1965. James Henderson, the school’s career scoring leader, had 41 against Mooresville in 1972. Brian Page put up 50 against North Stanly in 1989 for a long-standing school record.
“I thought Cooke was really good,” North head coach Jason Causby said. “His point total came in the flow of the game so much that I had no idea he was approaching 30 in the third quarter until Coach K (Bill Kesler) mentioned it on the bench. He was doing the little things that we teach on defense and hitting the boards really hard. All the little things added up and allowed him to get into an easy flow on offense.”
What’s really scary if North Rowan is on your schedule is that Cooke isn’t the Cavaliers’ leading scorer. Cooke averages 17.8 points per game. Another senior forward, Brevin Goodlett, averages 20.1. Goodlett chipped in with 14 points on Friday.
North (15-2, 10-0) has won eight in a row for a reason and has averaged 77 points in its last five outings.
Uwharrie Charter came to play. The Eagles (4-12, 3-7) looked a lot better than their record early. They ran their offense smoothly, employing that mixture of wide-open 3-pointers and layups every coach loves. Uwharrie Charter led 13-7, North fans were getting restless, and Causby turned to his deep bench. Up jumped the “Gold team” — David Broaddus, Denerio Robinson, Malcolm Wilson, Brandon White and Zay Davis. Their energy turned the game around.
“We subbed out the first five due to their lack of intensity and focus,” Causby said. “We were not engaged at all and needed a spark. That second group gave us that spark. Not that they played flawlessly, but they got us into an offensive flow and they got defensive stops. I was proud of those guys for righting the ship, Our starters were able to get their heads in the game while they were on the bench and they could watch what we were doing with our defensive rotations.”
The starters were back on the floor by the end of the quarter. Derrick Page hit a streaking Cooke for the layup that gave North a 20-19 lead.
Cooke dunked twice and scored 17 in the second quarter. North led 47-35 at halftime despite admirable efforts by Uwharrie Charter’s scorers Garrett McCollum, who made four 3-pointers in the first half, and Dawson Dunn, a freshman who finished several acrobatic drives.
“We started the game really lackadaisical,” Cooke said. “But when the starters went back in we played the way we needed to play. Watching from the bench, we were able to see the stuff that we needed to do.”
North’s superior depth and bigger, stronger bodies wore out the visitors in the second half, and Uwharrie Charter’s tired jumpers stopped falling. Their passes weren’t as crisp and North defenders got deflections and steals that turned into easy offense. Cooke scored 15 in the third quarter to push his total to 36.
“I tried to run the floor and pick it up on the glass,” Cooke said. “I had no idea I had as many points as I did. That was my teammates helping me. We were executing. They were finding me for layups.”
Most of Cooke’s buckets came on point-blank opportunities, but he helped his point total soar by being solid at the foul line. He played for about a minute in the fourth quarter and made two free throws to cap his huge outing.
“Cooke is such an unselfish player and always does the dirty work for us,” Causby said. “We were all glad to see him explode on offense.”
North outscored the Eagles 25-5 in the third quarter for a 72-40 lead and led by as many as 36 points down the stretch.
“We’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” Causby said. “We can’t get complacent or take things for granted. I did like our entire team’s response to our halftime adjustments. We played really well in the third quarter.”
North Rowan has a big one coming up on Tuesday at North Stanly. The Comets, who lost to Albemarle 74-66 on Friday at Pfeiffer, handed North Rowan one of its two losses in the Dale’s Sporting Goods Sam Moir Christmas Classic. North Rowan hasn’t lost since.
NOTES: Uwharrie Charter won an exciting jayvee game that went overtime. … Cooke entered his junior season with only 136 varsity points, but he scored 420 last season and is now making a charge toward 1,000. Last night’s game helped. He now has 869.
UWHARRIE CHARTER (54) — Dunn 16, McCollum 14, Brady 6, B. Williams 4, Barker 4, Christian 3, N. Williams s 3. A. Williams 2, Glover 2.
NORTH (86) — Cooke 38, Goodlett 14, Goodes 7, Page 7, Davis 5, Robinson 4, Smith 3, White 3, Stoner 2, Bacon 2, Broaddus 1, Wilson.
Uwharrie Charter 19 16 5 14 — 54
North Rowan 20 27 25 14 — 86