Southwest Guilford shook off the impact of a frightening injury to one of its starters Saturday afternoon and hammered Concord Cox Mill 88-58 in the N.C. 3A boys’ West Regional high school basketball final.
The loss prevented Cox Mill from a chance to win its third straight state championship.
What many fans anticipated as a dream matchup between two of North Carolina’s top prep basketball programs turned into a rout, but not until several frightening moments for the packed house at Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Shuford Gymnasium.
At the 5:54 mark of the second quarter, Southwest Guilford’s Christian Martin glided to the basket for an apparent dunk. He leaped into the air and missed the dunk, then got a hand caught in the netting.
Martin, a 6-foot-3 senior wing, fell to the floor, landing on his head. He appeared to lose consciousness briefly and was taken from the arena by stretcher. Play was stopped for almost 15 minutes.
Cox Mill coach Jody Barbee, who announced after the game that he was stepping down as head coach, told the media afterward that he told his coaches the incident would work one of two ways.
“It would either mess (the Cowboys) up, and we would go on a run and put them away in the first half, or it would go the other way and they would blitz us,” Barbee said.
It was the latter.
The Chargers (28-3) led 18-14 after the first period, but Southwest Guilford (31-0) exploded after Martin’s injury. The Cowboys’ trapping defense enabled them to go on a 21-5 run over the final minutes of the second quarter.
Jay’Den Turner, a 6-5 senior forward, scored 17 of Southwest Guilford’s final 19 points in the second quarter. Southwest Guilford led 45-30 at the half, and the second half went pretty much the same way for both teams.
The Cowboys outscored Cox Mill 25-17 in the third quarter and took a 25-point lead into the final period.
Duke commit Wendell Moore’s high school career ended on a flat note. The Cox Mill standout hit only 3-of-15 from the floor and finished with 19 points, thanks to a 12-of-12 day from the foul line.
3 who mattered
Jay’Den Turner, Southwest Guilford: Turner hit 11-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, and scored a game-high 29 points. He added six steals and five rebounds.
Miles Taylor, Southwest Guilford: Taylor, a 6-4 junior who replaced the injured Martin, hit 6-of-7 from the floor and finished with 12 points.
Caleb Stone-Carrawell, Cox Mill: A 6-7 senior, Stone-Carrawell was the Chargers’ most accurate shooter, hitting 5-of-14 shots for 11 points
▪ Barbee announced after the game that he was retiring as coach to enter private business. In six seasons, he coached the Chargers to a 158-33 record and two 3A state championships.
▪ When Martin was injured, the two teams gathered in a circle at center court and prayed. They were led in prayer by Barbee’s father, the Rev. Eddie Barbee.
▪ Southwest Guilford officials said later Saturday afternoon that Christian Martin was in the intensive care unit at a Hickory hospital and appeared to be responding well to doctors.
▪ Southwest Guilford will face East Regional champion Burlington Williams in next weekend’s 3A final at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill. The Bulldogs advanced Saturday with a 58-49 win over Eastern Alamance.
▪ A large number of fans never got into the game. Shuford Gymnasium was packed by the noon tipoff time, and the front doors were locked. Memo to the N.C. High School Athletic Association: Charlotte has two arenas with seating capacities of about 8,000 that would work well as sites for the regional finals – Bojangles Coliseum and Halton Arena on the UNC Charlotte campus.