North boys advance with victory over Queen’s Grant

Published 11:05 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022

By David Shaw

SPENCER — A playoff win is a playoff win, no matter how much ketchup you pour on it. And 14th-seeded North Rowan needed more than a little to swallow visiting Queen’s Grant on Tuesday.

“I don’t ever take playoff wins for granted,” coach Jason Causby said after the Cavs opened the 1A boys basketball state playoffs with a hard-fought 72-54 victory. “That’s a 19-win team coming in. I felt like we were the better team when we took the floor, but I knew we were playing a good team.”

The triumph shoehorned North (18-5) into the second round, where it will visit No. 3 seed Uwharrie Charter Academy on Thursday night.

“We’re feeling pretty good after missing the playoffs last year,” North senior Derrick Hanson chirped after scoring 11 first-quarter points. “Now we’ve won our first-round game and got to do it in a home environment.”

Hanson, a 6-foot-4 power forward, provided an early spark by muscling inside for layups and chip shots from the block. Teammate Amir Alexander added a pair of 3-pointers, including a stroke from the right side that provided a 22-18 lead after one period.

“We’re a little undersized and that’s a good rebounding team,” second-year QG coach Greg Mangum offered after the 19th-seeded Stallions (19-8) were outscored 19-7 down the stretch. “We competed with them all night. We fought them. We had three guys diving for a ball in the fourth quarter. But they had a couple of nice runs and that was the difference in the game.”

North scored 12 straight points and built a 34-24 lead when George Maxwell floated down the lane for a basket midway through the second quarter. Teammate Darrell Carpenter netted nine of his team-high 17 points in the period, including two on a runaway jam shot just 20 seconds before halftime.

“He does a good job at the top of our 1-3-1,” said Causby. “He’s really long and active and he’s gotten good around the basket. He makes it hard to finish your drive. He’s got a mid-range jump shot, a turn-around jump shot and he gets out in transition. There’s a lot to like there.”

Queen’s Grant used a 9-0 spurt to climb within 47-41 in the third quarter — and later drew as close as 53-47 on a foul-line jumper by Jaidyn Covington. That’s when Hanson got busy, hitting a free throw and a completing a three-point play to trigger an 8-0 North run. He finished with 15 points.

“We kept our team focus,” Hanson noted. “We listened to our coach, executed what he wanted us to do and were able to adjust in the middle of a play.”

QG’s final points came with 2:18 remaining, when Elijah Rector’s 3-ball from the left side pulled the Stallions within 63-53. But North and Carpenter — an acrobatic 6-3 junior — finished with a purpose. The Cavs used a 9-1 finishing kick and Carpenter’s crowd-pleasing dunk to win with room to spare.

“(Quashawn Carpenter) stole the ball near mid-court and got a pass out to me,” he said with boyish enthusiasm. “I took it on the fastbreak, saw lots of green and gave it to them.”

When it ended, Mangum had kind words for the Cavs. “They’re long and athletic and they make simple passes difficult,” he said. “And if you’re not precise with the ball and know your read before you get the ball — and maybe hold the ball a second too long — that’s trouble against them. There were instances where we held onto the ball too long and it cost us.”

Causby called it a “cat-and-mouse game” and added: “Single-digit game in the fourth quarter of the state playoffs, we were just trying to keep them at arm’s length. I really liked how we handled it. I think we’re playing our best basketball right now, which is what every team wants.”

NOTES: Asheboro-based Uwharrie Charter (19-6 with five straight wins) advanced with a 63-51 first-round victory over Albemarle. North spent four seasons battling the Eagles when both schools were members of the old Yadkin Valley Conference. UCA beat Salisbury, 72-65, in a non-leaguer last November. … North has won seven of its last nine games. … QG’s Lourell Covington topped all scorers with 20 points, 14 in the first half. … Quashawn Carpenter had 11 points and Alexander matched him — his last-minute layup closed the scoring — giving North four scorers in double figures. The Cavs limited QG to eight field goals and 20 points in the second half.

Queen’s Grant     18    16    11.  9 — 54

North Rowan      22    21    10   19 — 72

QUEEN’S GRANT (54) — L.Covington 20, J.Covington 15, Rector 9, Burke 4, Adams 4, Faherty 2

NORTH ROWAN (72) — D.Carpenter 17, Hanson 15, Q.Carpenter 11, Alexander 11, Charleston 7, Maxwell 6, Whitney 3, Morrow 2, O’Kelly, Hailey