BYH to the person responding re the voter ID question. Thanks for your example. I think that everyone should have the...

ANDERS: NP seniors finish in style

1 of 6

North Pitt's Nyjanique Langley celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer in the first quarter of the 2-A state championship game against North Wilkes at the Dean Smith Center on March 10, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


The Daily Reflector

Monday, March 12, 2018


I saw it.

I've seen it a few times before, but this time it was different, and I knew exactly what it meant.

Nyjanique Langley came down the floor in the first quarter of Saturday's 2-A state championship game against North Wilkes, pulled up at the left wing behind the college 3-point line, took a pass from Casandra Watson and buried a 3 that pushed the Panthers' lead to double digits for the first time.

As the North Pitt contingent exploded with cheers, Langley turned and skipped back up the floor, shaking her head with a look of deadly focus on her face.

I've seen that look.

It meant there was no way this day wasn't going to belong to the Panthers.

Langley closed out her career at North Pitt fittingly. Her 33-point, 16-rebound performance made her the game's MVP, just as she was as a sophomore two seasons ago, and North Pitt again walked off the floor at the Dean Smith Center the ruler of 2-A girls' basketball.

Langley is a special talent. Her repertoire features a wide array of moves that leave you asking "How do you defend that?" and all of those moves were on display against North Wilkes.

The senior guard was her typical sheepish self in the media room after the game, saying only "Great. I'm feeling good," when asked to describe the feeling of her second state championship.

Her coach, William Knight, wasn't nearly as coy.

"I believe this ball player sitting beside me is the best player in the state ...," Knight said. "I haven't seen a better player this year than Nyjanique Langley. She gives you 110 percent. Yes, she takes breaks on defense at times, but other than that, she's going to give you 110 percent. I believe she's the best player in the state."

Knight expressed his outrage at the fact Langley was overlooked for the Carolinas All-Star Basketball Classic, and he likely isn't the only one with that belief. She averaged 27.1 points per game in her final season and averaged 29.3 in the postseason, scoring at least 30 points in four of NP's six playoff games.

Langley's personality has been one of the more enigmatic in Pitt County during her tenure at North Pitt. On the court, she exuded a quiet confidence and thrived in the brightest of spotlights, yet had a reputation off the court of being a player of not just few words, but sometimes almost no words at all.

She did eventually offer a little insight in Saturday's press conference into the realization she had played her last high school game.

"I might cry later on," she said, wiping her face with a towel. "Not right now, but I might cry later on."

Langley was joined in closing out her career as a champion by the Panthers' only other senior, center Alyssa Kerns.

The duo stands in stark contrast as players and personalities. Where Langley garnered all the attention with her scoring ability, Kerns was the grinder inside, a 6-foot volleyball player-turned-rebounding machine that only played two seasons of basketball.

Though she may have played without the fluidity of a natural basketball player, Kerns was never far from the top of the list of players Knight credited with helping the Panthers reach their 26-5 record. She averaged just 3.0 points per game, but collected an average of 10.9 rebounds per game and provided a stabilizing force inside as NP's biggest body.

While Langley typically shied away from sharing her thoughts, Kerns beamed Saturday as she talked about what it meant to her to have been a part of the basketball program.

"I wish that I had played my first two years," she said, smiling. "It was a really great experience and I'm glad that I did it. The team was amazing and I love basketball like I don't think I thought I did maybe even a few weeks ago, and I'm really going to miss it. I'm going to miss my team so much."

The Panthers were much more than just their two seniors. Junior guards Tamia Frizzell, Tjuanna Williams and Casandra Watson each hit crucial jumpshots in the fourth quarter Saturday, and sophomores Ashanti Hines and Nautika Newton were key parts of their run to a title. Those players will be the foundation of a North Pitt team that will likely be a threat to defend that title next season.

The run to this year’s title, though, was about Langley and Kerns, and about being able to send out the most successful player in the program’s history with another championship.

To have those two finish their playing careers with a title was fitting. After all, Langley and Kerns were a perfect encapsulation of what North Pitt's girls were this year and how they became champions — the perfect balance of flash and grit, silent determination and enthusiastic effort.

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


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

June 18, 2018

The consistency shown by East Carolina football coaches was key during the recruitment of Farmville Central rising senior defensive lineman Keziah Everett and that led to Everett verbally committing to the Pirates on Monday.

He chose ECU over North Carolina and Virginia. The Pirates were the first…


June 17, 2018

The D.H. Conley football team is known for its spectacular athletes. Fast, physical and athletic are all adjectives often used to describe the Vikings players.

The Vikes finished with an 11-2 record in 2017, led by a perfect 6-0 mark in Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A play. With star quarterback…


June 17, 2018

Ayden-Grifton sophomore Jackson Upchurch knows what it means to work hard and grind to improve at the plate.

Upchurch batted for a .418 batting average, 24 runs, 23 hits and 11 RBIs, which earned him hitter of the year honors for The Daily Reflector’s All-County Baseball Team.…

061018-All County Baseball

June 17, 2018

J.H. Rose senior Hunter Christopher knows how to retire batters.

Christopher had an ERA of just 0.72 in his final season with the Rampants, helping to earn him the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference player of the year honor and The Daily Reflector’s All-County pitcher of the year accolade.…

061018-All County Baseball

June 17, 2018


Zach Byrum, D.H. Conley: Byrum knew how to punish pitchers from the plate in his senior season. He tallied a team-best .378 batting average, and also led the Vikings in runs (35) and hits (31). He also earned 11 RBIs.

Drew Nichols, South Central: The senior once again improved…

061018-All county baseball

June 17, 2018

D.H. Conley baseball coach Jason Mills has shown that he knows how to get the best out of his players, both on and off the field.

The Vikings posted a 21-6 record, along with a 9-3 record in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference. They spent the season consistently ranked in high regard by…

061018-All County Baseball

June 16, 2018

North Pitt football is ready to turn the corner in 2018.

After a 1-10 season in 2017, the Panthers have a new coach in Greg Watford and they are eager to post a bigger number in the win column.

“It’s been tough out here, especially last year, but we are ready to go out and turn…


June 15, 2018

WINTERVILLE — Pitt County Post 39 put in yet another strong showing Friday night to open the American Legion Showcase Baseball Tournament at Pitt Community College. Post 39 defeated Post 256 of Jacksonville 10-3 to improve to 14-0 this season.

“We had smaller numbers tonight than normal…


June 15, 2018

The J.H. Rose Rampants are used to success. They are accustomed to winning conference titles and playoff games, but after a 3-8 season in 2017, the Rampants are looking to get back to those winning ways. 

The Rampants’ 2018 roster is filled with seniors, ones who head coach Dave Wojtecki…


June 15, 2018

South Central football and track and field athletes Dexter McDuffie and Emannuel Lewis both signed letters of intent to attend The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, respectively, on Thursday afternoon. 

“Obviously they are great…

103 stories in High Schools. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»