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ROUNDUP: FC, NP snap series skids

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Devonte Pettaway (#22) goes to shoot during their game against Farmville Central high school Wednesday evening, Feb. 15, 2017.

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By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, February 16, 2017

FARMVILLE — After yet another meeting with Farmville Central that included big shots, plenty of points and last-second drama, North Pitt boys’ basketball coach Mark Carson simply chuckled Wednesday night.

“Typical North Pitt-Farmville,” he said.

That it was. Except, of course, for the ending.

The Panthers snapped an eight-game losing skid in the series with their county rivals and earned a spot in the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference tournament championship game with a wild 98-94 victory on the Jaguars’ home floor.

Third-seeded NP (17-9) will travel Friday night to take on regular-season league co-champion and top seed Beddingfield at 7:30 p.m. Farmville Central (14-8), which shared the regular-season crown with the Bruins, will enter the state playoffs 14-7.

The victory was a long time coming for the Panthers, who outscored FC 10-0 in the final minute after trailing by 12 early in the fourth. They had not beaten the Jaguars since Dec. 27, 2014, a streak of eight meetings that included a 92-90 loss at FC last month and a 76-73 defeat last Friday that saw the Jaguars storm back from 12 points down with six minutes left. 

“Finally,” guard Devonte Pettaway said, breathing an audible sigh of relief.

Pettaway staged an entertaining toe-to-toe battle with Farmville Central guard Tyler Maye. Maye put up 41 points, but Pettaway barely bested him with a game-high 44, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.

It was a couple of other names, though, who carried the Panthers back late. Guard Demonte Roberson made it 94-90 FC with a layup with 55 seconds left, then Nas Staton converted a steal by Zaquarius Sherrod-Wilson into a layup with 36 seconds left to cut the deficit to two.

Jakhei Harris missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 31 ticks to play, and Sherrod-Wilson tied it with a layup with 20 seconds to play.

Pettaway fouled out on a blocking call that sent Maye to the line with 13.2 seconds left, but the Jags guard missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the Panthers’ Reggie Carney drove to the basket, made a layup and was fouled with seven seconds to play to give NP the lead.

Carney missed the free throw, but the Panthers corralled the offensive board and Harris was tagged with an intentional foul that gave NP free throws and possession. Roberson and Staton each made one of two free throws in the final four seconds to seal it.

“I always know that if we dig deep and keep battling, good things will happen,” Carson said. “I’m really happy for these kids. They deserve this. ... (FC coach) Larry (Williford) does such a great job and you know going in that we’re going to have to do our things right because they’re not going to make many mistakes. Sometimes, we’ve gotten close and just couldn’t do it, but tonight, our seniors got it done.”

Roberson finished with 20 for North Pitt, 13 coming in the final quarter. Staton added 17.

Justin Wright had 21 and Harris had 12 for the Jags.

GIRLS’ GAME

Farmville Central 52, North Pitt 43

Before the Panthers’ boys ended their streak of futility against Farmville Central, FC’s girls’ team ended an even longer drought against North Pitt.

The Jaguars halted a 12-game skid in their series with North Pitt, leading throughout and closing out a victory that punched their ticket to the EPC tournament title game Friday, where top-seeded SouthWest Edgecombe awaits for a 6 p.m. tilt at Beddingfield.

FC (17-4) had four players in double figures in its first victory over the Panthers since Feb. 18, 2012. Three of those losses came this year by a combined 13 points, all in games in which the Jaguars led after three quarters.

North Pitt (20-4) threatened to do the same again Wednesday, using a quick spurt to cut an 11-point lead to six early in the fourth, but Farmville Central was able to weather that attack and pull away to close it out.

“The whole time, I think the girls were hungry,” Jags coach Hollis Harper said. “They beat us three times in a row and they’re a good team. We came out and played hard. ... It feels good because we haven’t beaten North Pitt in a long time.”

Monique Erazo and Kayla Barrett led FC with 13 points apiece. Qyinesha Pettway and Courteney Pitt added 11 and 10, respectively.

“I just had a mindset like we were the Cavaliers against the Warriors in last year’s (NBA) championship,” said Erazo, who made back-to-back layups to squash North Pitt’s mini run in the fourth. “We had that 3-1 deficit and we wanted to come back and beat them. That’s it. We came to play tonight.”

Nyjanique Langley had a game-high 21 to lead North Pitt. Casandra Watson chipped in 14.

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

Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A

BOYS

South Central 64, J.H. Rose 35

WINTERVILLE — Home-standing South Central made quick work of J.H. Rose in the semifinals of the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference boys’ basketball tournament. Very quick.

In fact, the way the Falcons’ wire-to-wire 64-35 victory on Wednesday night began said it all. SC connected on its first three shots, all 3-pointers, and led 12-0 midway through the first quarter before Rose scored its first basket. Things did not change until it was too late, as the Falcons (22-1) continued knocking down shots and terrorizing the Rampants with pressure defense.

SC led 34-9 at halftime and had spent that entire time dictating the tempo to the visitors.

“It was very key to get out quick after not playing for almost a week,” SC coach Chris Cherry said of his team, which ended the opening period leading 16-2. “I thought our defense was very good early, very active. We moved our feet and jumped some passing lanes, and offensively, I thought we basically moved it to the next guy, and whoever had the best shot took it.”

In the opening sequences, it was Jahzeer Baker who was wide open for the first trey before Raequan Harris canned the next two for a 9-0 advantage. Not much changed after that, and Baker’s eight points and Harris’ 11 reflected a great balanced attack for the Falcons.

Tahj Riddick led all scorers with 12 points and had an emphatic drive and left-handed dunk in the fourth quarter. Also for SC, Xavier Boyd added eight points and Sykeim Phillips nine.

Rose’s all-night shooting woes were reflected in the Rampants’ nine-point first half. JHR was led by the nine total points scored by Creighton Lebo.

Much of the visitors’ struggles happened long before shots were even taken, however, as South Central’s pressure defense continually caused possession changes and fast-break baskets for the Falcons.

“It’s going to pick up a little bit (in the postseason) and we’re not going to be able to turn people over as much, but as long as we can get the tempo of the game going up and down, that’s the way we want to play,” Cherry said. “And if we get beat playing that way, we shake the other guys’ hands and say good job.”

—Nathan Summers

D.H. Conley 58, Eastern Wayne 51

Holton Ahlers scored 16 points and Shykeef Daniels had 13 for second-seeded Conley as it advanced to the ECC 3-A/4-A finals, where it will travel to South Central at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.

GIRLS

J.H. Rose 60, Eastern Wayne 38

A big third quarter helped top seed Rose beat Eastern Wayne and earn a spot in Friday’s Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference tournament championship game.

The host Rampants (13-11) led 29-24 at halftime before scoring 19 points in the third. 

Arnasia Williams led Rose with 15 points. Castar Braswell scored 14 and Kentasia Street had 11 for the Rampants, who will travel to South Central at 6 p.m. Friday for the tourney finals.

South Central 54, New Bern 34

The No. 2 seed Falcons (15-8) rolled past New Bern behind 12 points from Brittany Gibbs and 10 points apiece from Anna Mewborn and Brittany Tyson. 

Eastern Carolina 2-A

BOYS

Kinston 69, Ayden-Grifton 59

The Vikings used a 10-0 second-quarter run to build the lead it needed to knock off third-seeded A-G (14-13) in the ECC 2-A semis. 

GIRLS

South Lenoir 51, Ayden-Grifton 25

Top seed South Lenoir led 26-3 at halftime and rolled to a victory in the semifinals of the ECC 2-A girls’ tournament, ending Ayden-Grifton’s season at 6-17.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Lawrence Academy 53, John Paul II 48

JPII (48)

Niya Williams 20, Lacey Ross 3, Sydnee Neal 20, Megan Zelaski 5.

Record: JPII finished 14-10.

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