TROUTMAN—After seeing the Greyhounds’ 17-point third-quarter lead cut down to just three late in the fourth, head coach Sonny Schofield was looking for someone to break the momentum South Iredell had built and make a play.
It was Zamari Stevenson that delivered.
The senior forward intercepted a pass at full speed, went the length of the court, and laid home an easy bucket with a nice euro step to put Statesville (3-3) back up by four to help push the Greyhounds to a 61-54 victory to complete the season sweep of the Vikings (1-6).
“When Zamari got that steal,” Schofield said. “That broke their backs.”
However, for much of the game, it didn’t seem like late-game heroics would be needed. By halftime, on the back of stellar defense in the second quarter, Statesville had built a 12-point lead by outscoring the Vikings 20-7 in the frame.
“I thought the bench did an excellent job in the second,” Schofield said. “They gave us some momentum and the spark we needed.”
One of those players was Torrey Miller who came off the bench to score 10 points in the second quarter. The junior finished the game with 14 points.
Messiah Robinson led the way for the Greyhounds doing a majority of his damage after halftime. Robinson finished with 15 points with eight of those coming in the second half.
Statesville’s third player to finish in double figures was Chris Brown, who added 10 points.
South Iredell coach Melvin Nesbit credited his team’s willingness to fight back from the big deficit after the game.
“It says that we can do this, that we aren’t what our record says,” Nesbit said. “It’s things like mental breakdowns and offensive breakdowns, stuff that we work on all the time that we have to get better at.”
The Vikings’ second-half spark was provided by senior big man Gavin Morrison, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the final two quarters by dominating around the basket while also grabbing 11 rebounds.
“We took too many quick shots,” Nesbit said. “There wasn’t enough ball movement to get the correct shots. We didn’t feed the post enough, for sure.”
Braydon Watson-Jones was another big factor in South’s near-comeback, finishing with a game-high 19 points. However, outside of Morrison and Watson-Jones, the rest of the Vikings managed just 19 points on 6-of-24 shooting.
“They know now that they can play with anybody if they come to play with everybody,” Nesbit said. “We have to do a little better.”
Both teams will be in action again next Tuesday, February 2. Statesville will play host to the 6-1 North Iredell Raiders while South Iredell will travel to Mt. Ulla to face the undefeated West Rowan Falcons.
South Iredell girls grind out win over Statesville
Nothing about the girls game that preceded the boys thriller was pretty. Nothing came easy as the Vikings and Greyhounds battled hard for every point scored, making the age-old coaching emphasis on free throws even more important.
The foul line decided the game, and thanks to hitting 15-of-22 freebies, the Vikings (3-3) edged out the Hounds (1-6) 38-30 on Friday night.
In total, a combined 36 fouls were called in the game—19 on South Iredell and 17 on Statesville. As a team that is committed to picking up the pace, this hampered the Vikings’ ability to run up and down the floor.
“It slowed us down more than we’re accustomed to,” South Iredell head coach Marcus Chambers said. “A lot of our fouls were our mistakes where we were reaching instead of moving our feet. But they were aggressive fouls, so you have to live with it.”
Emily Hapes led the Vikings with 10 points. Kayden Johnson added eight while Ashtyn Zeigler and Shania Houser both finished with six points on the night with all of Houser’s scoring coming in the fourth quarter.
“We’re still a little banged up,” Chambers said. “But we have a big game Tuesday at West Rowan and hopefully we’ll have everybody back and be a complete team.”