High school basketball: South boys are 1-0

Published 5:07 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

By Mike London

LANDIS — Raise your hand if you remember Tyler Rary, Tireek Wilder and Lavon Hill.

South Rowan’s boys won on the opening night of the basketball season for the first time since 2014-15 when Bryan Withers was coaching the Raiders and Rary, Wilder and Hill sparked an exciting 57-56 triumph against Northwest Cabarrus.

South beat West Iredell 77-70 on Friday to kick off a hopeful, new season. If that sounds like a lot of points for the Raiders … yes, it’s been a while. The last time they scored that many was when Braden Graham led a 78-56 win against East Davidson during the 2019-20 season.

It was ugly, with an astounding 72 fouls whistled, but South head coach Daniel Blevins, who now is in his third season, isn’t griping.

Wins are wins and after sitting through a 2021-22 season in which South dropped 22 in a row and rarely had any kind of chance, Blevins needed a win.

Heck, everyone in red and black needed one.

South averaged 37 points per game last season and only topped 50 points three times. So 77 felt good.

“There were a lot of fouls,” Blevins said. “That first half, that was the longest day of my life.”

West Iredell was called for 40 of those 72 fouls. South shot 52 free throws and made 35.

“That’s 67 percent,” Blevins said. “We want to make 70 percent from the foul line, but we’ll take it.”

South’s Dalton Young had an outstanding game. He scored 32 points. He handled the ball a lot and got to the foul line frequently, shooting 18 free throws and making 11.

After Young, it was balanced. Drew Blackwell and Logan Ballard scored nine. Bronson Hunt, Jadon Moore and Aaron Jones scored eight each.

“Can’t say enough about how hard Blackwell played,” Blevins said. “Ballard played some good defense. Hunt had a tremendous night rebounding the basketball.”

South came into the season expecting to be quite a bit better than it was in 2021-22, although 0-22 set the bar low for being “better.”

“We’re still not big, but we’re scrappy,” Blevins said. “We’ve got a lot better numbers and we’ve got a lot more speed. We can press, something that we couldn’t do last year. We did some good things in the press, but we’ve got to play defense with our feet instead of reaching with our arms. We got in almost as much foul trouble as West Iredell did.”

Jermaine Cornelius scored 25 for the Warriors.

Blevins said the home crowd was a positive factor for the Raiders.

“It was the size of crowd we normally get for East Rowan or Carson,” he said. “A lot of support. The student section was loud. Fun night for our guys.”

South Rowan plays at North Rowan on Monday.

West Iredell  14   20   21   15   — 70

S. Rowan      6     27    18   26    — 77

South scoring — Young 32, Blackwell 9, Ballard 9, Jones 8, Moore 8, Hunt 8, McGuire 3, Saine 1.