On To States
Blazers Romp, 87-61
Posted: February 21, 2013
Rockbridge’s Adam Doll-Hennis (left) and SHS’s Austin Nicely battle for the ball Wednesday night. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
On Wednesday, the Trailblazers robbed him of the chance to be No. 1.
Although Rowsey scored 32 points, SHS coach Chad Edwards gushed about Spotswood’s defensive execution – starting with junior guard Tucker McCoy – as the Blazers routed Rockbridge 87-61 in the Region III, Division 3 semifinals, qualifying for their fourth state tournament in five years.
But first, Spotswood (25-1) will play Fort Defiance (17-9) for the fourth time this season on Friday at 7 p.m. in Penn Laird for the regional championship.
“The team executed our defensive game plan to a T,” Edwards said. “… The first time we played him, we had some lapses from the second defender and tonight I don’t think we had any lapses.”
The loss meant an end of an unforgettable career for Rowsey, who came up 50 points shy of Stacy Ervin’s all-time scoring record of 2,687 points at Twin Springs.
“I’m a little disappointed, but I mean, it’s been a blessing,” said Rowsey, who scored 60 against Stuarts Draft in Spotswood’s tip-off tournament this season. “… I couldn’t have asked for a better career.”
Plogger offered Edwards some words of advice during team handshakes. The main message: keep on pressing.
“If they believe, they can win a state championship – they’re that good,” RCHS coach Darrell Plogger said. “Their pressure defense will give anybody in the state fits. We played Brunswick last year. They’re a great basketball team, make no mistake about it, but that pressure defense that [the Blazers] play is a handful. Somebody better have two really good guards or they’re in trouble.”
Senior guard Hyrum Weiler, the Valley District Player of the Year, led four Blazers in double figures with 18 points and seven rebounds. McCoy scored 12 of his 14 points in the second quarter, including three of the team’s 10 3-pointers.
SHS needed only a 23-point first quarter to outscore the Wildcats in the first half.
“The toughest thing is their defensive pressure. They’re relentless,” Plogger said. “If you lose focus for 30 seconds, they can hang nine on you in a hurry. They’re just that good.”
After Rowsey managed three of his seven field goals in the first quarter, Spotswood – playing him man-to-man with McCoy primarily, and then doubling him – clamped down defensively, forcing the Wildcats into several turnovers and bad shots. RCHS (14-12) shot just 1-for-10 from the floor in the second quarter, as SHS took a 40-20 halftime lead.
“You definitely get really pumped up when Coach tells you you’re going to guard Rowsey,” McCoy said. “You gotta give it all you got, just to try to stop him, hold him, do whatever you got to do to not let him score.”
Rowsey, who has signed with North Carolina-Asheville, did most of his damage at the foul line, making all 16 of his attempts.
Third-seeded Fort Defiance punched its ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 1995, beating No. 2 Northside 73-57 in the early game at SHS Wednesday night.
Senior forward Trevor Lam led the charge, scoring 12 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter as the Indians continued to build on a 38-26 halftime lead. Adam Frazier (14 points), Parker Glenn (12) and Caleb Simmons (12) joined Lam in double figures.
Spotswood made a believer out of Plogger. The Blazers now have an opportunity to open more eyes on the state stage.
“We know the teams we have to play in the future are pretty tough teams,” McCoy said of a field that will likely include defending champion Brunswick, which defeated SHS on the way to a state title two seasons ago. “So, we just gotta believe we can do it, and hopefully we can win.”
Rowsey 7 16-16 32, Merchant 4 0-0 8, Long 3 1-2 7, Shafer 2 0-0 5, Doll-Hennis 1 0-0 2, Ware 1 0-0 2, Wilson 2 1-2 5. Totals 20 18-20 61.
McCoy 5 1-2 14, Nicely 3 3-6 9, Lasam 3 0-0 9, Garber 5 3-4 13, Weiler 6 5-6 18, Hinkle 3 2-2 11, Davis 1 0-0 2, Kier 0 1-2 1, Blandon 1 3-4 5, Saylor 2 1-1 5. Totals 29 19-27 87.
Rockbridge 14 6 17 24 - 61
Spotswood 23 17 23 24 - 87
3-Point Goals—RCHS 3 (Rowsey 2, Shafer), SHS 10 (McCoy 3, Lasam 3, Hinkle 3, Weiler). Fouled Out—RCHS (Doll-Hennis). Rebounds—RCHS 32 (Rowsey 6), SHS 29 (Weiler 7). Total Fouls—RCHS 27, SHS 19.