SPC boys basketball: West, Carson beat county opponents

Published 12:43 am Wednesday, January 18, 2023

From staff reports

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan’s boys basketball team is officially in a tie for second place in the South Piedmont Conference after holding off East Rowan 81-71 on Tuesday.

It’s a three-way tie between West, Concord and Northwest Cabarrus at 5-2, halfway though the league season. West (8-6) beat Concord. Concord beat Northwest. Northwest beat West by 1.

All three have been wiped out by league-leader Central Cabarrus and all three have beaten the bottom four teams, although there aren’t many sure things in the SPC from 2 through 7. Lake Norman Charter, East Rowan and Carson are capable of an upset on a hot night. East can score and made some spirited runs at the Falcons in this one.

West led 42-28 at halftime and was up by 17 going to the fourth quarter.

East got within eight points in the final minute, but West held on with a career-high 28 points from Athan Gill.

Gill scored 18 in the second half, 11 in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons got  3-pointers and 24 points from Will Givens, who topped 20 points for the seventh time, and two 3-pointers and 14 points from Elijah Holmes, who had one of his best games. Brant Graham helped out with three 3-pointers.

“We dug a hole at the beginning, but we weathered some storms, kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance,” East coach Andrew Porter said. “It came down to giving Givens too many open looks and giving Gill too many easy ones inside. And they hurt us from the 3-point line. We didn’t do a good job of running them off of it.”

Dylan Valley scored 26 for East (5-10, 2-5), as he moved past 900 career points. Tee Harris had 24 points and 10 rebounds. Jonathan Wemolua had 11 points. Garrett Lee had eight points and five rebounds.

East played without starter Tijon Everhart and reserve Whitt Hoesman due to illness.

West has won eight out of nine, with a loss to powerhouse Central Cabarrus the only setback in that stretch.

It’s a county week for the Falcons, who will host North Rowan tonight in a non-conference matchup before traveling to Carson on Friday. West has won two tough games with Carson.

East hosts Concord on Friday, Concord beat the Mustangs 75-59 in their first meeting.

East scoring — Valley 26, Harris 24, Wembolua 11, Lee 8, Danzine 2.

West scoring  — Gill 28, Givens 24, Holmes 14, Graham 9, Norman 4, Hairston 2.


LANDIS — Carson was supposed to beat South Rowan, but Carson coach Brian Perry had his concerns.

He figured South would play one of its best games for the season against the Cougars.

It happened, but Carson was able to beat the Raiders 65-48.

“Rivalry game, didn’t expect it to be easy — and it wasn’t,” Carson coach Brian Perry said.

It was a long-awaited first South Piedmont Conference victory for Carson. While the Cougars are 1-6, they are 8-8 overall and still could make the 3A state playoffs.

It was 22-all at halftime. Carson finally got some separation in the third quarter when Jonah Drye got hot.

“Thank goodness,” Perry said. “Jonah and Jay McGruder had big second halves.”

Drye scored 22 of his career-high 25 points after halftime.

“We played a good first half, executed and slowed down their shooters,” South coach Daniel Blevins said. “But we struggled to score at the end of the third quarter and they were able to extend a lead. We had great effort all night, but we couldn’t recover from that run they made.”

McGruder finished with 16 points. Mikey Beasley scored 12.

South (1-14, 0-7) got a big game from Dalton Young, who hit three 3-pointers and scored 25 points. Bronson Hunt added 11.

Carson hosts West Rowan on Friday, while South goes to Northwest Cabarrus.

Carson    15   7    20   23   — 65

South     8    14   10    16    — 48

Carson scoring — Drye 25, McGruder 16, Beasley 12, Ball 5, Taylor 3, Guida 2, McBride 2.

South scoring — Young 25, Hunt 11, Jones 7, Carey 5, Jackson 2.