Starmount advances in NCHSAA Playoffs

By Kristian Russell - krussell@elkintribune.com
Griffin Cass had 13 points and four rebounds for Starmount on Thursday night. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune
Tavis Bridges had 15 points and seven rebounds in the Rams second-round NCHSAA Playoff game. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune

BOONVILLE — In the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A Playoffs, things have started to heat up as teams pick up their momentum in order to keep their season alive. The Starmount Rams did just that on Thursday night against North Rowan.

It was a game that started out in North Rowan’s favor, but when it was all said and done, the Rams came away with the win. It all came down to the last few minutes, as Starmount knocked in a basket to take a 48-45 win to move on to the third round.

The Rams took an early 2-0 lead as the game tipped off, as Trey Dezern put up a lay-up when he drove to the basket for the Rams. It was the only basket the Rams would score until there was 5:35 left in the quarter. Tavis Bridges put in the second basket for Starmount, which was the last basket Starmount would score in the first quarter. North Rowan put up 14 points as the quarter went on to take a 14-4 lead over the Rams.

The defensive pressure for North Rowan kept the Rams from scoring until 4:38 was left in the second quarter. Eric Wiles put up a shot to break the scoring drought for Starmount, which made the score 19-6. The Rams were able to pull within nine points as Griffin Cass knocked in a basket for a 19-10 score. North Rowan was able to put up another two baskets for a 23-10 game, but the Rams were not done with the second quarter. As time reached 34.5 seconds, Cass knocked in a three-pointer from beyond the arc to put Starmount within 10 points of North Rowan at halftime.

In the final two quarters of the game, Starmount outscored North Rowan 35-22. The Rams started to right their wrongs and put up a tough fight. With 52.5 seconds left in the third quarter, the Rams pulled within three points as Wiles knocked down a huge three-pointer that turned the tide. With time sitting at 13.6, Bridges put up a shot from the key to pull the Rams within two points with one quarter remaining.

Starmount started off the fourth quarter with a bang as Ethan Barnes hit a shot to tie the game 35-35. North Rowan was able to take the lead back and go on a scoring run, which put the Rams down 43-37. With two minutes left in the game, the Rams turned on the jets and started playing with a renewed energy. Cass put down two three-pointers in a row to tie the game 45-45, and the baskets put the Starmount fans on their feet. As the clocked hit 1:26, Bridges made the shot that would send the Rams to the third round. Bridges hit his shot on the post, then was fouled. From the charity stripe, he hit his free throw and the Rams had a 48-45 lead.

North Rowan tried to battle back, but the Rams defense showed up and kept the ball out of the green and yellow basket. As time ran out, the Rams had completed a successful comeback to take a 48-45 win over North Rowan.

In the third round, Starmount traveled to Mooresville to take on Pine Lake Prep (19-7). It was a game that came down to the final seconds of the fourth quarter, as the Rams were able to pull off a 56-55 win. Starmount will travel to Denver to take on Lincoln Charter (25-4) on Tuesday night in the fourth round of the NCHSAA 1A Playoffs. Results were not available by press deadline.

Starmount stats:

T. Bridges – 15 points and 7 rebounds

G. Cass – 13 points and 4 rebounds

E. Barnes – 6 points and 5 rebounds

E. Wiles – 5 points and 5 rebounds

T. Dezern – 5 points and 2 rebounds

C. Smythers – 4 points and 1 rebound

Griffin Cass had 13 points and four rebounds for Starmount on Thursday night.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_DSC_0734.jpgGriffin Cass had 13 points and four rebounds for Starmount on Thursday night. Kristian Russell | The Tribune

Tavis Bridges had 15 points and seven rebounds in the Rams second-round NCHSAA Playoff game.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_DSC_0735.jpgTavis Bridges had 15 points and seven rebounds in the Rams second-round NCHSAA Playoff game. Kristian Russell | The Tribune
Rams take second and third round wins

By Kristian Russell

krussell@elkintribune.com