Prep Basketball: North Rowan boys 53, Central Davidson 45
By Bret Strelow
SPENCER ó Pittsburgh Steelers fan Greg Sims sported a Franco Harris jersey following North Rowan’s 53-45 upset of visiting Central Davidson on Friday night.
There were no Terrible Towels, but North benefited from a collective growl.
Sims scored a career-high 14 points as head coach Kelly Everhart’s Cavaliers picked up their second win in the last 10 games.
“It’s been tough for everybody,” Sims said. “As Coach Everhart said at the beginning of the game, just go out and get it and growl. Just go out there and give our heart for it.”
Lamonte Bell (12 points, eight rebounds) and Javon Hargrave (10 points, 12 boards) joined Sims in double figures. Julian Hicks grabbed seven rebounds and the ball-handling of point guard D.J. Hipps, who battled serious foul trouble, was crucial in the final five minutes.
North (7-14, 4-8 CCC) didn’t trail in the last 21/2 quarters, but Central (15-7, 6-6) cut its deficit to 40-37 midway through the fourth period.
Bell drained a jumper from the left wing, and the Spartans answered with a turnover. Hipps demanded the ball by clapping loudly on the Cavs’ next possession, and he weaved his way through defenders for more than 10 seconds before dishing to an open Sims on the right wing.
Sims drilled a 3-pointer to give North an eight-point advantage with 3:08 left.
“The way he swerved through, I just knew to go to the wing and he was going to kick it out to me for the 3,” said Sims, who made two 3s while going 5-for-6 from the field but was only 2-for-6 from the line. “I was feeling it; I was on. I just couldn’t hit any free throws.
“We got confidence when (Hipps) checked back in the game. Everything was good.”
Neither team led by more than three points during a first half that ended in a deadlock at 21-all.
Hipps hit a pair of floaters to push the Cavs ahead by six early in the third quarter, but he picked up his fourth foul on a steal attempt with 1:49 remaining in the period.
He went to the bench and returned with 4:59 left in the game. The big baskets from Bell and Sims were part of a 6-0 run that came after C.C. Snider’s jumper pulled Central within three.
“D.J. Hipps did a great job of breaking their press and controlling the tempo of the game for us,” Everhart said. “It really hurt when he picked up his fourth foul and had to come to the bench.
“I told him when I put him back in, ‘Whatever you do, do not pick up your fifth foul because we have to have your ball-handling on the court at the end of the game.’ ”
North improved to 5-6 overall with a CCC win in its first game after the Sam Moir Christmas Classic, but the Cavaliers lost five players at the semester break.
Everhart has opted to start a bigger lineup since Hicks came back from an injury, and that’s forced Bell to fill in at small forward.He often handled the ball against Central’s press when Hipps was out of the lineup.
“It’s been tough, but I had to adjust to it,” Bell said. “That’s what we worked on in practice with me. Once I got the feeling of the ball, it felt like it was natural.”
Bell averaged 7.3 points in North’s first 15 games, and he’s reached double figures in each of the Cavaliers’ six contests since Hicks returned.
Bell has averaged 12.8 points in that stretch.
“Lamonte’s done a pretty good job playing out on the wing,” Everhart said. “Javon’s been a beast on the boards all year long, and Julian’s got such long arms and jumps really well. He’s just not as strong as Javon, so they’re two different kinds of rebounders.
“You throw Lamonte in there, he’s the banger of all three of them.”
CENTRAL DAVIDSON (45) ó Mays 17, Leonard 12, Davis 5, Musgrave 3, Snider 3, Dilley 3, Laws 2, Small, Brown.
NORTH ROWAN (53) ó Sims 14, Bell 12, Hargrave 10, Hipps 9, Hicks 4, Blakeney 4, Rhames, Feezor, Vogel, Jackson.
C. Davidson 9 12 9 15 ó 45
North Rowan 10 11 13 19 ó 53