DAVIDSON High Point Wesleyan’s week in Mecklenburg County got off to a good start.
A second-quarter burst propelled the Trojans to a 62-57 win Tuesday at Davidson Day, the first of two games they will play in the county over a five-day span. High Point Wesleyan, which will play Prime Prep on Saturday at Berry, is 2-1 against Mecklenburg teams, but more importantly is building consistency after cross-country travel and injuries that have forced lineup changes.
“We’re getting back into it,” High Point Wesleyan coach Keith Gatlin said. “We haven’t been healthy all year. Thank God for the win, and hopefully we can keep improving.”
High Point Wesleyan used its length and patience to grind out the victory, with North Carolina recruit Theo Pinson scoring a team-high 17 points along with an array of spectacular passes and dunks.
“Theo showed great patience with the ball, finding shooters,” Gatlin said. “Theo is a complete player. He’s 100 percent certified. The game has slowed down for him. He’s still scoring but taking less shots.”
Donovan Gilmore added 14 points for the Trojans (13-4), whose balanced scoring was enough to offset Kenny Hairston’s game-high 31 points for the Patriots. No other Davidson Day player hit for double figures.
“We’re trying to get better there” on defense, Gatlin said. “That’s the key to our game. We let (Hairston) get off a lot of shots tonight, which we can correct.”
Hairston carried most of the scoring load for the Patriots during the first half with 14 of their 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Davidson Day led for most of the first quarter with Hairston getting eight points, but High Point Wesleyan turned the tide in the second with a 15-6 binge providing an eight-point advantage at the break.
“That’s something we’ve struggled with at times in the game’s we’ve lost,” Patriots coach Joe Justus said. “In the four games we’ve lost, we’ve had one bad quarter. Against really good teams, you can’t afford to have a stretch like that. It’ll come back to hurt you.”
High Point Wesleyan didn’t let Davidson Day recover, playing even in the third quarter and withstanding an 11-point outburst by Hairston in the fourth that pulled the Patriots within 57-51 with 66 seconds left. That was as close at they’d get, though, as the Trojans stuck with Pinson, who scored on a tomahawk jam and a pair of free throws to shut the door.
“That’s one of the good things about playing a tough schedule,” Gatlin said. “You know teams are going to get up for you. We didn’t get rattled. Davidson Day played very well, shot the ball extremely well, but we kept them at bay enough with our lead for it to work out for us tonight.”
HIGH POINT WESLEYAN 62 – Theo Pinson 17, Donovan Gilmore 14, Carelock 7, Buckland 6, Johnson 6, Steele 6, White 6.
DAVIDSON DAY 57 – Kenny Hairston 31, Blackmon 9, Scherrman 7, McLean 4, Caldwell 3, McLaurin 3.
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