No. 23 Falcons win by 39
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
It was another blowout win for the South Central boys’ basketball team Wednesday night, downing 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference foe Southern Wayne 78-39.
This night also was unique in that it was South Central’s first game as a nationally-ranked team. The Falcons broke into the USA Today Top 25 after a second-place finish at the John Wall Holiday Invitational, checking in at No. 23 by USA Today.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” coach Chris Cherry said. “It shows we are being recognized on a national level, but it also puts a bigger bullseye on your chest.”
The Falcons (11-1, 2-0) took care of the visitors behind a 22-point outing from point guard Shykeim Phillips, along with 15 from big man Day’ron Sharpe.
SC had control from wire to wire, using quick passes and tight defense to secure the win. The result was a 26-0 run that stretched from late in the second quarter to early in the third. The Falcons led 53-17 at the end of the run.
SC stayed busy during winter break, competing in the prestigious John Wall tourney in the TJ Warren bracket. Sharpe was named most outstanding player of the bracket and Phillips earned an all-tournament team nod.
“It was great, great atmosphere,” Cherry said of the John Wall event held annually at Broughton High School in Raleigh. “The kids enjoyed themselves, we enjoyed ourselves. It really challenged us to come in three consecutive days and put three consecutive game plans together just using walkthroughs. It was an amazing experience.”
A key to all of the success in Winterville is the Falcons’ depth. Names such as Raquan Vann, who posted seven points Wednesday night, provide talent on the court when stars need a break. Guard Jahzeer Baker also has been a key player.
“It makes for very competitive practices,” Cherry said. “It proves there are guys out there who can possibly take minutes from you (as a player). It’s also just the depth of the program, the JV staff does a great job also. We’re just deep in talent.”
Cherry added that he and his squad try not to look ahead in the schedule, where it seems the Falcons are the clear favorites to walk away with the ECC crown and make another 4-A state playoff run.
“We focus on the next day,” he said. “That’s all we constantly talk about. At the end of practice each day we ask ourselves, ‘Did we get better today,’ and that’s what we are going to do for the next six weeks.”
SC will be back in action on Friday at Eastern Wayne.
SOUTH CENTRAL 68, SOUTHERN WAYNE 41
South Central’s girls’ basketball team also walked away with a rout of Southern Wayne.
Ninevah Reddick (20 points) led all scorers, while Kayla Friend (13) also reached double digits in points.
The Falcons (10-3) struggled with turnovers early, allowing the Saints to crawl back from a 7-1 lead to keep things close at 11-7.
From there it was all SC. At the end of the third it was 49-32 and South Central continued to finish strong against a tired Southern Wayne squad.