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Jaguars roll in conference opener

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Farmville Central's Tyler Maye (11) goes up for a layup as North Johnston's D'andre Etheridge (25) defends on Jan. 3, 2017. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

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By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

FARMVILLE — Farmville Central’s boys may have entered Eastern Plains 2-A Conference play with a .500 record, but the Jaguars made quite the statement Tuesday night about whether or not they plan to be contenders for the league crown again.

FC scored the first 11 points of Tuesday night’s league opener against North Johnston and built a lead as large as 40 points to coast to an 85-50 victory and open EPC competition with a win for the fourth straight year.

The Jags have not lost a league game since a 78-71 setback at Beddingfield on Feb. 12, 2015, a stretch of 13 contests.

Senior guards Tyler Maye and Jahkei Harris poured in 30 and 23 points, respectively, to lead Farmville Central, which won its third straight and improved to 6-5 in its first game since winning the First Citizens Bank Pitt County Holiday Tournament last Wednesday night at Ayden-Grifton. The winning spurt follows a stretch in which the Jags lost four of five games and head coach Larry Williford said he hoped the performance would help set the tone for the league run.

“We talked about the three E’s — energy, effort and enthusiasm — and how important this first conference game is, because you’ve only got 10 of these,” Williford said. “You can’t tell me you can’t bring it for 10 games. This is not the NBA or the NFL where you’ve got a hundred games. We’ve got 10 games that are going to decide our fate and we better play hard.

“I like our team. I like where we’re headed. As long as everything stays like it’s going, I like the direction we’re headed.”

Harris scored the first eight points against the Panthers (5-7). Maye followed with nine consecutive points as the Jaguars put it away early. The pair combined to score the first 22 points for FC, which led 24-8 after one quarter.

The Jaguars led 37-18 at halftime before Maye put the exclamation mark on the victory in the third quarter, scoring 15 straight points in the stanza to balloon FC’s lead to as many as 36 in the period.

Freshman Justin Wright added 17 points, and combined with Maye and Harris to score all but two of FC’s points through the first three quarters.

The Jaguars’ 5-5 record entering the game stood in stark contrast to the unbeaten mark they posted in last year’s state championship season, but Williford said the commanding performance against North Johnston and his confidence about the rest of the season is rooted in going through that tough start against quality competition.

“I think the one thing we did this year was we scheduled aggressive,” Williford said. “We tried to up the ante a little bit, so I think we were tested. I don’t think there’s a question that we played some really good basketball teams. We’ve played a lot of different styles, and I wouldn’t trade our beginning for anything because I think it’s helped shape us to where we’re at now.”

GIRLS GAME

Farmville Central 56

North Johnston 49

Farmville Central’s girls dominated early and held off North Johnston to improve to 10-1 and open EPC play with a victory.

Qyinesha Pettway scored 16 to lead FC as the Jaguars jumped out to a 17-4 lead, then withstood several short scoring bursts by NJ as the Panthers tried to get back in it. North Johnston closed to within five points in the final minute, but could get no closer.

Contact Jordan Anders at janders@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 or follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.

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