No practice, no problem.
The Erwin boys basketball team had practiced just once in the past week due to a variety of wintry weather conditions. But rust was nowhere to be found in Tuesday night’s 81-60 win over defending Mountain Athletic Conference 4-A champion McDowell.
The Warriors (12-0, 3-0) led wire-to-wire on their home floor with key contributions from Josh Ingle (18 points), Alic Wynn (16) and Malik Moore (14).
Erwin is putting up a state-best 89.2 points per game, according to the website MaxPreps. That average is the fifth-best nationally among all teams, and second among United States public schools behind Carter, Tenn., (93.2 ppg.).
A team that went 14-12 last season is undefeated in January for the first time in David Rhoney’s three years as coach.
“(Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.) was the first time I’d seen our guys since Saturday,” Rhoney said.
“It’s a testament to them that they played with such sharpness. It tells me they’re not satisfied. I could see it in their eyes tonight.”
Erwin junior Jeremiah Jackson had a bandage across his brow Tuesday, and for a good reason. Jackson needed seven stitches to close a cut he suffered Monday while playing pickup ball. He was on the receiving end of an errant elbow from a teammate.
Other than informal gatherings such as that, Rhoney said his team has not practiced since Dec. 31.
It hasn’t shown.
Buncombe County’s last unbeaten boys or girls basketball team won Saturday at Reynolds, 82-60. And the Warriors never looked back after taking a 20-10 lead after Tuesday’s first quarter against the Titans (6-6, 1-1), who got all but 17 of their points from Raekwon Miller (22 points) and Quante Henry (21).
“We couldn’t practice Monday, but I called our guys and they were all at The Rush (gym on Patton Avenue) together. How great is that?” Rhoney said.
Colby Maltry and Daree Wynn chipped in eight points apiece for Erwin. Davad Mills had seven points.
Individual scoring leaders for the Warriors this season include Moore (16.1 ppg), Brennan Howard (12.6 ppg), Ingle (10.8 ppg) and Wynn (9.8 ppg.).
Ingle, Mills, Michael Angel, DeAngelo Collington, Tyler Sullins and Daree Wynn are the team’s six seniors.
“It’s nice to talk about being undefeated behind closed doors,” Ingle said.
“But when we get out there, it’s time to work. We bring our lunch pail to work every day. We respect McDowell. It’s a big win for us, and we know it’s going to be tough when we go down there (on Jan. 31). In our mind, we’re 0-0 every game. That’s the mindset we have to keep.”
Raleigh, Mustangs stay unbeaten
The Pisgah-Smoky Mountain boys game on Tuesday night was in no way, shape or form a disappointment.
The Mustangs (13-0, 6-0) trailed for much of the Western North Carolina Athletic Conference boys basketball game in Canton and fell behind by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter.
But a late surge kept their perfect season alive.
Clemson baseball recruit Cal Raleigh poured in 22 points and Spencer Norris added 16 in a 64-62 road win.
The Black Bears (13-2, 5-1) had their last basket waved off by officials, who said it came after the final horn. Peyton Truesdale netted a team-high 14 points. Cole Anderson, Jesse Anderson and Thomas Tatham had 12 points apiece for Pisgah, which was ahead 36-32 at halftime.
“It doesn’t get much better than playing in a game like this in front of a packed house,” said Raleigh, who is a junior.
“When you have an atmosphere like that, it gives you a lot to play for. We gutted it out. A win like this is pretty huge.”
Smoky Mountain outscored Pisgah, 14-8, in the fourth quarter. Jordan Couch added nine points, while Jayce Wolfe had seven.
The Mustangs have now beaten the Black Bears five times in two seasons, including a 72-56 win in last year’s second round of the NCHSAA 2-A playoffs.