SILER CITY — When Jordan-Matthews’ coach Rodney Wiley was asked to describe the difference in his team’s Tuesday night matchup with PAC 7 2A Conference league-leader Wheatmore, he summed up his …
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
SILER CITY — When Jordan-Matthews’ coach Rodney Wiley was asked to describe the difference in his team’s Tuesday night matchup with PAC 7 2A Conference league-leader Wheatmore, he summed up his response in one word — “Gavin.”
Gavin Rains, the Warriors’ 6’6” senior center who has signed to play at Queens College next year, dominated both ends of the floor while pouring in 32 points and pulling down 18 rebounds as Wheatmore overcame a slow start to edge in front 28-25 at intermission and never trailed in the second half in posting a 56-48 triumph on John Phillips Court.
Avenging a 51-44 setback to the Jets back on January 18 when Rains was forced to miss that game with a concussion, the Warriors improved to 16-7 overall and 9-2 in the league standings to wrap up the regular-season title, while J-M fell to 6-17 for the year and 2-9 in the conference.
Zach Berrier contributed 10 points for the winners, who connected on 49% (23-of-47) of their field goal attempts while commanding a 28-18 advantage on the boards.
Camden Fuquay led Jordan-Matthews with 14 points and Jayden Davis came off the bench to add 13 as the Jets shot 36 percent (16-of-45) from the floor.
“It took us a while to get going tonight as J-M hit some shots early before we made a couple of defensive adjustments to get ourselves back in the game,” said Wheatmore coach David Spell.
“Gavin is a special player who always remains positive and is as good a passer as he is a scorer. He’s extremely quick for his size and has unbelievable hands and body control that allow him to dominate play in the paint.”
Wiley was quick to concur. “Rains is a complete player,” noted Wiley. “He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and dribble, find teammates for open looks at the basket and play strong defense, not to mention the shifty moves he displays to get to the hoop.”
“It didn’t matter who we had guarding him or what defense we tried, we just didn’t have an answer for him.”
A pair of Fuquay free throws with 5:40 left in the opening period gave Jordan-Matthews an early 8-2 lead before the Warriors fought back to trim their deficit to 14-11 after one quarter.
Garrett Moser hit one-of-two foul shots with 3:21 remaining in the second stanza to break a 20-all stalemate and put the visitors ahead to stay prior to Rains’ layup and three-pointer from the right wing that increased Wheatmore’s advantage to 26-20 with 1:40 to go in the first half.
But a Jayden Davis trey from the right side and two Xavier Woods free throws sandwiched around another Rains layup brought the Jets within three at the break.
However, the Warriors managed to stretch their lead to 33-25 following Rains’ put-back off the left baseline and three- pointer from the left wing a minute into the third period, and after a Davis trey from the left side closed the gap to 39-34 with 3:06 remaining in the stanza, Rains’ turnaround basket in the lane plus Berrier’s drive off the right baseline put Wheatmore up by nine heading into the final frame.
The Warriors then maintained anywhere from a seven to 12-point advantage throughout the last eight minutes, with A.J. Lockett’s jumper off the right baseline with 1:13 to go allowing Wheatmore to equal its biggest lead of the evening at 55-43 and remove any doubt regarding the outcome.