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High school basketball: Tuesday’s first-round boys matchups

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

First-round games are on Tuesday. Second-round games are on Thursday.

West Rowan and North Rowan will have home doubleheaders Tuesday, with the girls games leading off.

North Rowan has confirmed an $8 admission charge for the doubleheader there.

Salisbury will be on the road. A.L. Brown will be home.

Davie County was on the bubble as the third-place finisher in the Central Piedmont Conference, but did not get in. Only 48 teams make the 4A field. There are 64-team brackets in 1A, 2A and 3A.

•••

(26) North Stanly (14-11) at (7) North Rowan (20-7), 1A. 7:30 p.m.

The Yadkin Valley Conference rivals will battle for a third time.

North Rowan shared the regular season title in the YVC and won the conference tournament to earn the league’s best seed.

The Cavaliers are still rated only No. 30 in 1A in the adjusted MaxPreps rankings. North is still rated lower than Chatham Central or South Stanly, but there’s no doubt North Rowan, coached by Jason Causby, is playing its best basketball right now. Christmas tournament disasters against East Rowan and Carson are distant memories.

North Stanly finished fourth in the YVC. North Rowan took both meetings with the Comets in the regular season, 66-47 and 64-55.

The first meeting went smoothly for the Cavaliers. Brandon White, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, scored 18 and the Cavs held North Stanly to a meager nine points in the first half.

In the second meeting, the Comets limited White to 10 points, but Brandon Jefferson and Kendrell Goodes scored 15 each.

North Rowan normally isn’t a great shooting team, but it has a host of potential scorers. Denerio Robinson is coming off a career-best 22 points in the Yadkin Valley Conference Tournament championship romp against Chatham Central. Guards Zay Davis and Quashawn Carpenter also have been the leading scorer on a given night.

Goodes was a starter for the North Rowan team that made a run to the regional final last season, while Davis and Robinson were key reserves.

North Stanly will rely on the efforts of Koby Poole and Dyson Bell.

•••

(17) Salisbury (16-9) at (16) Smoky Mountain (14-10), 2A, 6 p.m.

Just two years ago, coach Bryan Withers’ Salisbury team went to the mountains and beat top-seeded Mountain Heritage to make it to the regional final.

So Tuesday’s 175-mile trip to Sylva, which about seven miles away from Western Carolina University, shouldn’t be daunting for the Hornets, who made crazy trips east during the football playoffs.

The Hornets are probably the favorites, no matter what the seeds say.

The Hornets have had a frustrating season on the court, with eight of their nine losses going the wrong way in the final minute. They could easily be 20-5 or 22-3 with a few bounces and a few calls.

Despite the adversity, the Hornets, who are led in scoring by Zay Kesler and Nate Brown, got the 3 seed from a league that was quite stout this season, with six teams that are capable of winning a first-round playoff game.

The Hornets have a few football players on the team, and they’ll have to be tough against a Smoky Mountain team that has very large people. Clayton Frady (6-5, 275) is headed to Gardner-Webb as a lineman. Parker Flynn (6-4, 230) was a strong defensive end for the Smoky Mountain football team.

Mitch Wike, Michael Todd and Conner Seagroves are the main scorers for the Mustangs.

•••

(18) Parkland (21-4) at (15) West Rowan (15-9), 3A

West Rowan has a very good team and proved it with a second-place finish in the North Piedmont Conference and a conference tournament championship.

West has a scorer (Jalen Moss), a shooter (Macari Allison) and lots of size and toughness, but the pairings did coach Mike Gurley’s Falcons no favors. There isn’t any doubt that West has drawn one of the best in 3A, definitely the best team that wasn’t a top-two finisher in its league.

Winston-Salem’s Parkland Mustangs went 7-3 and tied for second in the Piedmont Triad Conference, which also included regular-season champ Mount Tabor and Greensboro’s Ben Smith High, which also went 7-3 and swept Parkland in the regular season to secure the second of the league’s two automatic playoff berths.

Mount Tabor, seeded No. 1 in the 3A West bracket, is 23-3. All three losses have been to Parkland, including one in the conference tournament championship game.

Parkland is coached by Travis Holcomb-Faye, who played at R.J. Reynolds High in Winston-Salem and at East Carolina University.

The standouts for Parkland are Camian Shell and Omari Bolden. Shell is also the quarterback for Parkland’s football team and is a dynamic athlete. He averages 21.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. Bolden averages 18 points for a high-powered team that frequently scores in the 70s.

The third scorer for Parkland is Denoris Wardlow, an outstanding DB. He’s signed to play football for the Catawba Indians.

West’s most recent playoff win was in 2017.

West and Parkland squared off in the 3A state title game in 1999, when Parkland had Clifford Crawford (N.C. State) and Danny Gathings (High Point). Scooter Sherrill and Donte Minter combined for 50 for the Falcons, but they lost 101-83.

 

(21) Forestview (17-10) at (12) A.L. Brown (17-8), 3A

A.L. Brown tied for second in the South Piedmont Conference with Central Cabarrus with a 6-4 record and got the league’s second automatic berth by advancing further in the conference tournament than Central, which was upset in the first round. The Wonders had a first-round bye in the six-team league.

Coach Shelwyn Klutz’s Wonders, who won the Dale’s Sporting Goods Sam Moir Christmas Classic in Salisbury, are an explosive team with scorers Kheni Briggs, Mi’Keim Moore and Amari Grier and big man JD Glenn. They’re capable of beating about anyone when everyone is on. They knocked off SPC champ Cox Mill,  the No. 2 seed in the 3A West bracket, once this year.

Grier, Briggs and Glenn were key players last year when the Wonders reached the third round of the playoffs.

Forestview’s Jaguars feature one of the state’s top scorers in shooter Logan Botts. Botts is small, but he’s frequently scored 30-plus and on occasion, 40-plus. Botts, a Newberry signee, made nine 3-pointers and scored 44 recently against North Gaston.

The Wonders flattened Forestview in East Lincoln’s Christmas tournament last season, holding Botts to two 3-pointers and 16 points. They’ll try to put the defensive heat on him again.

Forestview went 7-5 in the Big South Conference and tied for third with Kings Mountain. The Jaguars finished behind Huss and Crest.

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