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HOOPS: Both DHC teams advance

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D.H. Conley's C.J. Johnson

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By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

J.H. Rose’s girls’ basketball team used a barrage of 3-pointers to take a halftime lead Tuesday night against D.H. Conley.

After the break, the Vikings flipped the script and the Rampants went off the rails, leading to a 73-49 victory for Conley to advance to the semifinals of the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference tournament.

DHC, the No. 2 seed, improved to 17-8 and will take on No. 6 Southern Wayne in the semis at 6 o’clock tonight at South Central. That will be followed by No. 4 New Bern taking on top seed South Central at 7:30.

Rose finishes the year 3-22.

Conley built a 12-point lead in the second quarter before the Rampants went on a 17-2 run in the final five minutes, bolstered by a pair of 3-pointers from Amira Brown and one from Kaley Pascasio, to take a 30-27 lead to the break.

The Vikings responded by blasting JHR 33-8 in the third in a performance that featured improved defense and five 3-pointers — two apiece from Hikaru Iwata and Kiara Johnson, and one from Mackena Batts.

“We just called them out defensively,” DHC coach Samein Jones said. “That’s all it was. It was about focus and we just didn’t have it (in the second quarter). We got up a little bit and I think we got comfortable, and they made some uncontested shots. In the second half, we just contested a little better and did what we were supposed to do.”

Batts scored 33, 22 of which came in the second half. Iwata had 18, including four 3-pointers.

The win put Conley one step closer to a potential championship rematch with regular-season champ South Central. If the Vikings can clear Eastern Wayne, they will get a shot at an SC squad that they defeated 60-55 last week to hand the Falcons their lone conference loss.

“The potential is there,” Jones said. “We’re the only team in the conference other than South Central that beat everybody in the conference at least once. Our goals were to win the conference and win the conference tournament, and we’re still right up there able to do those things. We’ve just got to put the ball in the basket and focus on defense, and we’ll be all right.”

Pascasio led Rose with 11. Brown and Ania Sands chipped in 10 apiece.

South Lenoir 57, Ayden-Grifton 19

Ayden-Grifton’s season ended with a loss in the first round of the Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference tournament. The Chargers finished 0-21.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

D.H. Conley 58, C.B. Aycock 47

Third-seeded Conley pulled away from No. 6 C.B. Aycock and reached the ECC tournament semifinals behind double-digit scoring performances by three players.

C.J. Johnson scored 15 to lead the Vikings, who will take on No. 2 J.H. Rose at 6 p.m. Thursday night at South Central. The top-seeded Falcons will play No. 4 Southern Wayne immediately following.

DHC’s Jahmois Barnhill and Gavin Russell chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Conley (15-11) and Rose split in the regular season, with each team winning on its home floor.

J.H. Rose 83, New Bern 65

Rose won its fifth straight game and for the seventh time in its last eight outings, getting past New Bern to advance to the semifinals. The Rampants are 17-7.

North Lenoir 63, Ayden-Grifton 58

North Lenoir bounced Ayden-Grifton in the first round of the Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference tournament, outscoring the Chargers 8-2 in the final two minutes to beat them for the third time this year.

A-G (10-12) finished fifth in the league in terms of state playoff order, and will have to see this weekend if it makes the 2-A bracket.

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