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Vikings boys go to 4-0 in league play

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D.H. Conley's Shykeef Daniels (10) weaves past Eastern Wayne's defense on Jan. 5, 2017. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

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By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector

Friday, January 6, 2017

D.H. Conley’s boys’ basketball team can usually be counted on to play at a slow, methodical pace.

So when Eastern Wayne came into the Vikings’ gym Thursday night and slowed the game down with a zone defense, coach Rob Maloney’s squad simply went to work, riding its usual game plan to a commanding 54-30 victory over the Warriors that kept the Vikes unbeaten in Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference play.

The game was moved up a night from Friday in anticipation of winter weather expected to hit Pitt County tonight and into Saturday morning. Conley (10-3, 4-0) surpassed its final win total from a year ago and stayed within a half game of South Central, which leads the ECC 3-A/4-A with a 5-0 league mark.

“We had short preparation, as (Eastern Wayne) did too, and you saw a lot of zone which means it really slows the pace up,” Maloney said. “I thought the kids handled having to play at a slower pace really well. As far as situational ball, I think we played smart ball for the most part. You’d like to get a couple more makes than we did, but that’s typical of a slow-down night.”

Shykeef Daniels led the Vikings with 16 points and Jahmois Barnhill added 15. Conley led by three points midway through the second quarter before its offense got rolling and blew the game open.

Leading 17-14 with four minutes until halftime, DHC scored the final 11 points of the second period to take a 28-14 advantage into the intermission. The Vikings carried that momentum through the third, outscoring the Warriors (5-11, 1-4) by an 18-8 margin in the quarter and finishing it on a 16-3 run that upped their lead to 24.

“We got a lot of really good shot opportunities, some high-percentage shots, and that’s where the pace comes in against the zone because you really have to work and hit the open gaps,” Maloney said. “We were able to strike it rich with high-percentage shots, and the flip side of that is I was proud of our defensive rebounds. I felt like we did a pretty good job of keeping them from getting second and third chances, and that always goes a long way to help you build a little bit of a lead.”

Conley is 4-0 in league play for the first time as a member of the ECC 3-A/4-A. The Vikes are scheduled to travel to New Bern on Tuesday, where a win would set up a first-place showdown with South Central next Friday.

“Every night is going to be a battle,” Maloney said. “Now, this one is over and we’ve got to go ahead and start thinking ahead to New Bern next week. We know we probably have short time to prep for that with the storm coming, so we’ve got to just take them one at a time. It’s cliche, but that’s literally what we have to do now.”

GIRLS’ GAME

D.H. Conley 58, Eastern Wayne 41

DHC’s girls improved to 3-1 in conference competition by handily defeating Eastern Wayne.

Mackenna Batts scored a team-high 21 and Jenna Wooten added 17 for the Vikings, who led by six points at the end of the third quarter before starting the fourth on a 17-3 run that put the game out of reach.

Conley never trailed as it picked up its third straight win and seventh in its last eight games.

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

BOYS BASKETBALL

South Central 70, Southern Wayne 49

SC (70)

Tahj Riddick 19, Tyrice Blow 1, Xavier Boyd 9, Shykeim Phillips 6, Syncere Pittman 8, Raequan Harris 2, Luke Davis 5, Dayron Sharpe 15, Tramadja Williams 5.

Record: SC 12-1, 5-0.

Up next: Hertford County at SC on Wednesday.

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