High school basketball: North boys win in OT at Lexington

Published 2:32 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Staff report

LEXINGTON — North Rowan’s boys basketball team let a 15-point lead slip away at Lexington on Tuesday, but the bottom line was the Cavaliers regrouped and won in overtime.

North made eight 3-pointers, put five men in double figures and won the 1A/2A Central Carolina Conference game 77-72.

“We shot it well, and when we do, I feel like we can play with anybody,” North coach Jason Causby said. “We had stretches tonight when we played as well as we have in a while. It was a good win. I like playing at Lexington because the crowd is always into it. It was a good environment, a fun game.”

Both games were battles, but North swept the Yellow Jackets, who are 21st in the 2A West RPI rankings, a certain playoff team, and no slouch.

North (16-3, 8-3) hasn’t lost outside the CCC and is 10th in the 1A West RPI rankings. The Cavaliers fell twice to Thomasville, fifth in 1A West RPI rankings, and on the road at Salisbury, eighth in 2A West RPI.

“We’ve got a good record, and most years if you’re sitting at 16-3 at this stage of the season, you’re feeling good,” Causby said. “But we’ve probably felt frustrated at least as often than we’ve felt good. We haven’t played as well as we wanted to play very often.”

North’s strengths are athleticism and depth. While you know who’s going to get the points for most of the teams in the county, with the Cavaliers, you never know. Senior guard Quashawn Carpenter is going to get 12 or 15, but, after that, almost anything can happen.

Eleven different players have scored in double figures at least once.

North was able to win Tuesday because Naejone Whitney busted out of a slump with 15 points. He hit four huge 3-pointers.

Another boost came from senior Pharrell Hailey. He had a career night with 10 points and at least a dozen rebounds.

“Pharrell was catching and finishing tonight and that makes us a better team,” Causby said. “He’s our biggest, strongest guy.”

North started off in solid fashion, but a furious run that delighted a Senior Night crowd propelled the Yellow Jackets to a 23-18 edge after a quarter.

North slowed down the home team with a 1-3-1 zone and moved ahead 39-34 at halftime.

“We rebounded the ball well and played pretty steady,” Causby said.

North forged ahead by as many as 15 points, but Lexington came roaring back in the fourth quarter.

“They ramped up their defense, got some momentum and (Matt) Liles made a c0uple for them from the parking lot, just super-deep 3s,” Causby said. “We knew they’d probably make a run on Senior Night and they did. They weren’t going to quit. They got all the way back.”

With the score tied, Carpenter drove, was fouled and made two free throws to put the Cavaliers up two with 18 seconds left.

Lexington called  a timeout with eight seconds left. Kimoni Small made the 12-footer that forced overtime.

Lexington had the momentum going to the overtime session, but North grabbed it back immediately.

Hailey followed a teammate’s missed layup for the go-ahead bucket. Then Amir Alexander made two clutch shots, one of them a 3-pointer, as the Cavaliers took control.

Alexander tied Whitney for North scoring honors with 15. Quashawn Carpenter had 13, while Hailey and Darell Carpenter got 10 apiece.

Maury Gilley had 20 for Lexington (13-8, 6-5). Liles scored 19, while Small got 14. Gilley and Liles are seniors.

“We won in a tough place to play,” Causby said. “Gave up a lead, but still had the composure to regroup and come out with a win. We’re growing. Maybe we’re ready to make a jump.”

North fans would like to see that jump come on Friday. Rival Salisbury, which plays a big one at Thomasville tonight, will be the opponent.

North               18   21   18   11   9 — 77

Lexington       23   11   12    22  4  — 72

NORTH — Alexander 15, Whitney 15, Q. Carpenter 13, D. Carpenter 10, Hailey 10, Charleston 7, Hanson 5, McArthur 2.

LEXINGTON — Gilley 20, Liles 19, Small 14, Shivers 9, Ewart 4, Reid 4, Fields 2.