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Falcons, Jags, Panthers advance

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Hoke County's Silas Love, center, is guarded by South Central's Shykeim Phillips, left, and Day'ron Sharpe during their game on Feb. 24, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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The Daily Reflector

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Even as its coach Chris Cherry was forced to shuffle his roster around to account for foul trouble Saturday, South Central’s boys’ basketball team was still too strong for Hoke County to handle.

The No. 4 seed Falcons got 27 points from junior guard Shykeim Phillips and contributions from a smattering of other players to best No. 5 Hoke County 74-55 to advance to the 4-A East Regional semifinals.

SC (26-0) will travel to top seed Garner (26-1) on Tuesday night with a berth in the regional finals on the line. That game will tip at 7 p.m.

Cherry’s club took a 37-25 lead to halftime despite guard Tahj Riddick and forward Day’ron Sharpe each picking up two fouls in the first two quarters and forward Jeremy Lewis having three. By the end of third quarter, Sharpe and Riddick had three fouls and Lewis had four, but the Falcons still led by 12.

With SC’s major role players battling to stay on the floor, the biggest boost it received came from reserve guard Travon Ward. The sophomore, who averages 5.6 points per game, hit a pair of 3-pointers and a pair of free throws in the first two and a half minutes of the fourth to extend that 12-point edge to 20, a key sequence that buried the Bucks and ignited the jam-packed gym.

“I love the way we stepped up and met the physicality of the game, and I was super proud of Travon the way he came through in the fourth quarter hitting those 3’s for us,” Cherry said. “We felt like they were trapping us a little bit so we wanted to put shooters in both corners, and he hit two huge ones.

“We have that type of depth and we’ve shown it all year. Even through some of the lopsided games, we had different guys stepping up, and when you’ve got the caliber of talented kids we have and nobody averages 20 points a game, that shows you the character of those kids to want to share the ball and let everybody eat a little bit.”

Sharpe added 12 points, all of which came in the second half. Ward finished with 11.

Jordan Anders

Farmville Central 81

West Craven 70

FARMVILLE — Farmville Central guard Justin Wright dropped at least 30 points for the second straight game to help lead the fourth-seeded Jaguars to a win over No. 21 West Craven and into the 2-A East semifinals.

Wright finished with an even 30 and Terquavion Smith added 24 for FC (22-3), which upped its winning streak to 17 games.

“My (guys) are playing hard and the foundation of winning is that if you can’t defend and you can’t be active, then you can’t win,” FC head coach Larry Williford said. “You can’t teach speed. You know, we’re not the biggest team in the world but we’re fast as lightning.”

The Jaguars will host No. 9 Greene Central on Tuesday night in the regional semis.

The Eagles (14-12) closed to within seven points in the fourth quarter but the Jaguars kept them at bay. Two nights after putting up 103 points on Carrboro (behind 38 from Wright), Farmville Central posted its eighth straight game of at least 70 points.

Kameron McNeil scored 12 for the Jaguars.

The teams traded blows in the first quarter until FC used a 10-0 run to establish control and force West Craven to call a timeout.

Corey Jones

GIRLS

North Pitt 65

Bartlett Yancey 42

BETHEL — At a point in the year where coaches would love to say their teams are playing their best basketball, North Pitt coach William Knight didn’t mince words about his team’s third-round performance against Bartlett Yancey.

“That’s the best game we’ve had all year,” he said.

It certainly was one of the most impressive, as the No. 3 seed Panthers scored the first 13 points of the day and cruised to a 23-point win over the No. 6 seed Buccaneers.

North Pitt (23-5) will travel to No. 2 seed East Duplin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the 2-A East Regional semifinals.

The Panthers hassled Yancey from the outset and didn’t allow a basket until more than halfway through the first quarter. They led 20-8 after one quarter and ballooned their lead to as many as 26 before the game reached halftime. 

“The defensive intensity was great throughout the game and they never let up,” Knight said. “That’s the best game I’ve seen them play all year long. We couldn’t have asked for them to play any better.”

Guard Nyjanique Langley scored 23 of her game-high 33 points in the first half, including a dominant stretch in which she scored 17 consecutive points. Casandra Watson added 17.

—Jordan Anders

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