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Chargers, Rampants win in first round

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Ayden-Grifton's Jordan Atkinson shoots while Farmville Central's Rande Harper defends during a game at D.H. Conley on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017.

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The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It took three tries this season for Ayden-Grifton's boys' basketball team to top Farmville Central, but that elusive victory Tuesday helped bounce the Jaguars in the first round of the Pitt County Boys’ Holiday Tournament.

The sixth-seeded Chargers upset the No. 3 seed Jaguars 71-61 to open this year's tournament, which is being hosted by D.H. Conley. A-G (5-3) advanced to the semifinals, where it will take on No. 2 J.H. Rose tonight at 6 p.m.

Farmville Central (5-3), winner of the last two county holiday tourneys, will battle No. 5 D.H. Conley at 4:30 p.m. today in the loser's bracket.

The Jaguars topped A-G by six points in each of their two meetings earlier this month. They never trailed in the first half and at one point were up by eight points in the second quarter, but the Chargers blitzed FC in the third, outscoring the Jags 20-11 and hanging on to win for just the second time in the last 11 meetings.

“Farmville Central is always a tough team and I’m just glad that we could hang on and get a win tonight,” A-G coach John-Kyle Moye said. “I thought we rebounded the ball very well and contained their two best shooters who killed us the last two games that we played them, and I’m just proud of the way that we played defensively.”

The Chargers went on an 8-0 run to tie the game, 26-26, with 2:45 left in the second quarter and stayed on the Jags' heels. A-G had a chance to take the lead going into the half but turned the ball over with three seconds left and went to the break tied 30-30.

FC's Rande Harper committed his fourth foul early in the third quarter. A substitute was sent to the scorers’ table, but before having a chance to enter the game, Harper picked up his fifth less than 20 seconds later. A-G’s Leontae Moye got a steal in the closing seconds of the third and went up for a dunk that gave the Chargers a nine-point lead going into the final quarter.

Despite have another starter, forward Kameron McNeil, foul out in the fourth, Farmville Central used one last burst to cut a 20-point deficit in half, but the Chargers held on late.

A-G took advantage of its size advantage in the paint and had four players with double-digits points: Jordan Atkinson (18), Moye (16), Josiah Shackleford (16) and Jekael Gay 11.

Justin Wright and Terquavion Smith combined for 32 points for the Jaguars.

“I think our youth was exposed tonight, but you've got to give credit to Ayden-Grifton," FC coach Larry Williford said. "They played extremely hard and pounded the paint, they’re huge. The first two times, our speed really caused them a lot of problems. Tonight, their height caused us problems.”

Corey Jones

J.H. Rose 72, North Pitt 71

No. 2 seed J.H. Rose scraped past North Pitt to advance to the semifinals, getting a late score to top the seventh-seeded Panthers for the second time this season.

Keonte Goodman's layup with 10 seconds remaining pushed JHR into the next round, helping JHR (8-2) evade a fourth-quarter collapse that saw North Pitt (6-4) erase an 11-point hole and take the lead in the final minute.

Ke'Patrique Best hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left that capped a 16-4 run and gave the Panthers a 71-70 advantage, but Rose answered at the other end when Goodman scored off an assist from Creighton Lebo, who finished with a game-high 24 points.

Best missed a potential go-ahead 3 in the final seconds.

Goodman was the only other JHR player in double figures, scoring all but one of his 17 points in the second half.

North Pitt, which will play again in the loser’s bracket Thursday, got double-digit scoring from Dequan Hines (16), Zaquarius Sherrod-Wilson (15), Nasqueonta Staton (14), Best (13) and Matthew Council (10).

North Lenoir 35, D.H. Conley 33

Fourth-seeded North Lenoir slogged its way past No. 5 D.H. Conley in a low-scoring affair to earn a date with top seed South Central tonight at 7:30 p.m.

No scorer from either team reached double figures in a game in which the two teams combined for just 11 points in the fourth quarter. NL (9-2) held the edge in that regard, outscoring the Vikings 6-5 in the final eight minutes.

C.J. Johnson's nine points was a team-high for DHC (6-4).

Jordan Anders

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