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Knight soaking up state experience


North Pitt's head coach William Knight talks to players during a timeout during their game against Kinston on March 3, 2018 at Minges Coliseum. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


The Daily Reflector

Monday, March 5, 2018

DURHAM — North Pitt girls’ basketball coach William Knight was so ready to get championship week started Monday, he was up at 4 a.m.

A few hours later, he joined the 15 other coaches who will lead their teams in quests for state titles this weekend in the annual NCHSAA title week press conference at the DoubleTree RTP in Durham.

The East Regional champion Panthers are gunning for their third state championship in school history and second in the last three seasons. They will battle West champion North Wilkes at noon on Saturday at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

Knight, who is in his second year at NP, is a first-time state finalist coach and admitted to spending Monday morning taking in the gravity of the event.

“It’s an experience, but it’s been fun,” said Knight, who is 46-10 as coach of the Panthers. “Just thinking about the players and what they’ve gone through this year, and no one expecting us to be this far, but the way the players have jelled at this time of the year and their competitiveness, their will not to lose, it’s been amazing.”

North Pitt’s run through the playoffs may have seemed a bit unlikely a couple of weeks ago following an ugly 75-61 loss to Farmville Central in the semifinals of the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference tournament. It was the second straight year the Panthers had been tripped up by the Jaguars in the tournament, and last year’s defeat was a prelude to a second-round exit from the state playoffs.

This year, NP bounced back from that loss to storm through the postseason, winning the regional championship over top seed Kinston on Saturday at Minges Coliseum, topping the Vikings 71-51 behind a 41-point performance from senior guard Nyjanique Langley.

“I guess the Farmville loss was a blessing in disguise,” Knight said. “That was a hard loss for all of us. It woke us up and it just fueled the fire for us. After the tournament, the season was dedicated to Nyjanique and (fellow senior) Alyssa Kerns. We just had a come-to-Jesus meeting after that loss and made up our minds the rest of the season was going to be for them.

“We had six games to win, and so far we’re on the right path.”

The Panthers are facing a North Wilkes program that has never been to the state finals. North Pitt has just two players who actually played in their championship win over East Davidson two seasons ago — Langley, who had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double and was the game’s MVP, and guard Casandra Watson.

This week is also uncharted territory for Knight and his staff, who didn’t take over at NP until shortly after then-interim coach Yolanda Bowden led the Panthers to that 2016 title. That means Monday morning was still about soaking in the enormity of the team’s accomplishment thus far.

But only for a short while, because there is still work to be done.

“This is still part of soaking it in,” Knight said. “We can’t lose our focus. We’ve still got to get back in the gym and still got to play one more game. ... To be honest with you, I didn’t have a chance and I don’t want to take any time (to reflect) until after Saturday. Hopefully when the players get in for practice, we’ll sit down and reminisce a little bit and get back to work.”


Advance tickets for the championship game are being sold at North Pitt for $14 beginning today.

They can also be purchased at the door Saturday or online at www.nchsaa.org/sports/basketball for $15.

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


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High Schools

December 15, 2018

Greene Central’s boys basketball team held off rival Kinston in overtime to bring home a big 64-58 win on Friday night in high school basketball. 

It was the first major win for new head coach Blue Edwards and was the third straight victory for the Rams (5-3). 

Imajae Dodd led the…


December 14, 2018

Farmville Central defensive lineman Keziah Everett confirmed he is ready to sign with East Carolina on Wednesday’s start of the national early signing period.

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December 13, 2018

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December 12, 2018

South Central remained undefeated on the basketball season after a big win over Bertie High School, 84-34, on Wednesday night in Winterville.

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December 12, 2018

North Pitt wrestling took home first place Tuesday night, topping Eastern Wayne and Tarboro in a tri-meet in Bethel.

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December 08, 2018

Farmville Central’s boys’ basketball team defeated Greene Central for the second time this season, winning 72-64 in Snow Hill on Friday night.

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December 07, 2018

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December 06, 2018

This time, Farmville Central wasted little time exerting its will.

The Jaguars started fast and never looked back in an 87-44 win over North Lenoir Wednesday. One day after needing a late run to defeat Ayden-Grifton 91-78, Farmville Central (5-0) led for all but the first 1:20 of the contest.


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December 06, 2018

South Central boys basketball took down Greene Central once again Wednesday night, earning an 80-41 victory. 

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December 06, 2018

It’s not uncommon for students at John Paul II Catholic High School to congratulate 6-foot-4 junior guard Jordan Yarrell on a great performance. The leader of the Saints is a true utility player, working on becoming even more of a leader of the small squad. Athletic Director Sean Murphy…

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