High school boys basketball: Carson tops East in semis; North rolls in consolation bracket

Published 12:01 am Friday, December 30, 2022


Staff report

SALISBURY — Carson’s top-seeded boys beat East Rowan 79-67 in a semifinal game in the Dale’s Sporting Goods Sam Moir Christmas Classic.

The central figure in Thursday’s game was Carson’s Jay McGruder, a rugged 6-foot running back who had the defensive assignment on East Rowan’s 6-foot-6 star Tee Harris.

McGruder helped limit Harris to 23, below his average, and McGruder scored an unexpected career high of 19.  McGruder’s previous biggest scoring game was eight.

“McGruder had a big-time game on both ends,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “He finished some tough shots inside. He’s got a quick release and he got some shots up over Tee and Jonathan Wembolua. Tee is a really tough matchup for us, but Jay battled him all night.”

East led 41-40 at halftime, with Harris doing what he does and with Dylan Valley, normally a 3-point shooter, getting a lot of offensive boards.

“I thought East really controlled the first half, even though we scored enough to hang in there with them,” Perry said.

Colin Ball, Carson’s leading scorer a lot of nights, got in foul trouble, two whistles early and another one as soon as he came back on the floor for the second quarter. But McGruder and Jonah Drye were tough and Mikey Beasley turned in another solid game.

Carson (5-4) took charge by holding the fourth-seeded Mustangs (3-6) to 10 points in the third quarter.

“We had a lot better defensive effort in the second half,” Perry said. “We did more of the things that we’d talked about doing prior to the game. We did a better job against Valley in the second half. He’s a good player, and we had Emory Taylor chasing him around all night.”

Valley scored 18 for the Mustangs, despite making only one 3-pointer. Jaden Sprinkle hit three 3-pointers and scored 11. Wembolua scored nine.

Harris had 10 rebounds to go with his team-high points.

“We played really hard, plenty of effort, but we missed a lot of open shots we needed to knock down,” East coach Andrew Porter said. “We got out-rebounded and we gave up too many second-chance points, especially in the third quarter.”

Drye scored 20 for Carson and had a number of nice passes to McGruder. Ball and Beasley scored 11 each. Taylor was big at the end, making free throws as the Cougars finished strong.

It was Carson’s highest offensive output of the season.

East will play North Rowan for third place today at 4:30 p.m. Carson will play West Rowan for the championship at 8 p.m.

East          22   19   10   16  — 67

Carson     19    21  18    21   — 79

East — Harris 23, Valley 18, Sprinkle 11, Wembolua 9, Haynes 4, Everhart 2.

Carson — Drye 20, McGruder 19, Beasley 11, Ball 11, Taylor 9, Guida 4, Burleyson 3, Howard 2.


SALISBURY — North Rowan is getting stronger, adding reinforcements during the Moir tournament.

Dyzarious Carpenter has returned from a broken thumb and veteran Naejone Whitney is back in action after sitting out the first nine games. He wasn’t hurt, but he had missed some practices.

Those talented additions helped the Cavaliers crush South Rowan 92-41 in Thursday’s consolation game.

“They brought a ton of energy tonight, and Whitney is our toughest player,” North coach Jason Causby said. “We played hard for the duration of this one, and it’s not like we were terrible on Wednesday in the loss to West Rowan. We had a bad start against West, like the moment was too big for our young guys, but after the first quarter we were punch for punch with West.”

Second-seeded North (5-6) scored 54 in the first half.

George Maxwell got back on target for the Cavaliers after an off night on Wednesday. He scored 19.

Carpenter scored 15, while Whitney had 13. Jeremiah Alford and Amari McArthur added eight each.

North went 20-for-26 on free throws and made eight 3-pointers. Jalen Smith came off the bench to make two.

Fifth-seeded South (1-9) scored respectably for three quarters, but was out of gas at the end and was outscored 16-1 in the fourth quarter.

Elijah Anderson scored 11 and Bronson Hunt had 10 for the Raiders.

South concluded tournament action.

North earned another game and will take on East Rowan for third place at 4:30 p.m. today.

South   16   14  10   1  — 41

North   27  27  22  16  — 92

South — Anderson 11, Hunt 10, Young 8, Jones 8, Jackson 2, Saine 2.

North — Maxwell 19, Carpenter 15, Whitney 13, Alford 8, McArthur 8, Morrow 7, Polk 7, Smith 6, O’Kelly 5, Charleston 2, Nguyen 2.


North’s jayvee boys got 25 points from Jojo Tarver and 15 from Mike Strickland and beat West in a semifinal to move into the championship game against East. South topped Carson in a jayvee boys consolation and will play West for third place today at 11 a.m.