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Rose, Conley, South Central compete in meet

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Austin Espinosa, Southern Wayne wrestler, tries to lock down Phillip Walter, Rose High School wrestler, during a match Tuesday evening.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Pitt County wrestling teams from South Central, D.H. Conley and J.H. Rose struggled Tuesday night at a meeting of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference, which included fellow members New Bern, C.B. Aycock, Eastern Wayne and Southern Wayne all visiting South Central’s gym.

J.H. Rose walked away with a 1-1 record on the night, defeating Southern Wayne before dropping a tight match to Eastern Wayne.

“Anytime you’re coming off Christmas break, you gotta kick things back in gear,” Rampants head coach Greg Sisk said. “It’s tough when you have to do that with a conference match. We enjoyed the break, we did the hard tournaments like the Tiger in Chapel Hill. We had some guys go to that and do well, but most of our guys took the time off. Unfortunately they came back to a conference (meet) but we’ll take it any way we can get it.”

D.H. Conley fought hard, but walked away empty handed after facing C.B. Aycock and a tough New Bern team. 

“If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we would go tough with New Bern, I would have been skeptical,” DHC head coach Micheal Taylor said.

The Vikings gave the talented Bears a run for their money, fighting until the last match in what ended as a tight contest. 

“I’m impressed with the effort you guys put in out there,” Taylor told his team following their match with New Bern. “Usually I’m mad at someone but I’m not mad at anyone here. You guys went out and competed well.” 

Reed Chandler (220-pounds) walked away victorious in both of his matches for the Vikings.

The host Falcons celebrated senior night prior to the start of the meet, honoring lone senior Jerrell “Bubba” Belcher. They also walked away without a win.

Belcher currently holds a 121-9 record, one he will look to improve on in upcoming events before the end of his high school career. 

“He has an unparalleled work ethic,” SC head coach Justin Harrell said of Belcher. “He has meant a lot to this program. I’ve been coaching here for one year, and it’s a blessing to have Bubba because he’s one of a kind. He’s ranked second in the state right now. He took fourth in the state as a junior last year and fifth as a sophomore. So he stands a pretty good chance of winning it this year.” 

Harrell said that this weekend will be big for Belcher as the Falcons compete in the Jolly Roger at Corinth Holders High School in Johnston County. Belcher will face the state’s No. 1 wrestler at the meet. Harrell believes the two will meet once again in the state finals.  

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

BASKETBALL

Greene Central 74, West Craven 65

The pace was fast in the boys matchup between the Eagles and Rams, but in the end it was Greene Central who came out on top and improved to 9-5 and 4-0 in 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference play.

The visitors stayed in the hunt into the fourth either, as the Eagles cut the lead down to three points late in the game. Led by Ahmad Inman, West Craven had the momentum for most of the quarter, but weren’t able to get all the way over the hump.

UNCW signee Imajae Dodd and the Rams kept them at bay at the free throw line to seal the win. GC coach Blue Edwards was unhappy with how the game ended despite the result going in the Rams' favor.

“I was not pleased with our defense,” Edwards said about West Craven cutting into the Rams' lead late. “We have some good basketball players, but we've got to get rid of the bad habits. In my mind, there are a number of positive things we can still take away from this game. However, we have to take care of the basketball against the press.

“If we want to be a championship basketball team, we have to make our free throws, and tonight’s game gives us something to focus on for the future.”

With the Ram Pen rocking from the opening tip off, Edwards’ team used the hot shooting of Jekael Gay to take a 23-18 lead to the second quarter. The senior forward knocked down several 3s in the first eight minutes.

The second quarter was evenly matched and West Craven managed to cut into the lead, but Greene Central took a seven point lead into halftime. After that, the Rams began to defend at a really high level.

With some great shot selection and defense, the Rams built a 15-point lead in the third quarter. Despite that, the Eagles began their rally, cutting the lead to 10 at the end of three.

The Rams take on Wilson Beddingfield on the road tonight. Edwards is looking for a more focused and energized team. He continued to preach ball security and free throw shooting along with the team taking care of their bodies for the road trip.

“We want to rest tonight,” he said. “We’re gonna have to deal with adversity as the games go on. This is a type of situation we don’t want to deal with down the road. I’d like to see our team focused and ready for tomorrow. We want to conserve our energy because we’ll be playing a good team that is hungry to get a win just as much as we are.”

— Laieke Abebe

GIRLS BASKETBALL

West Craven 51, Greene Central 36

West Craven used a big second half to down winless Greene Central on Tuesday night.

While the final score indicates a blowout, it was anything but that in the first two quarters, as the Rams came out focused on trying to win their first game of the season.

The first half began with a close, low-scoring first quarter and Greene Central came out ready to play defensively. However, the Eagles led throughout the first 16 minutes. They led by as much as 11, but the Rams stayed within striking distance.

West Craven pressed the entire way to speed the game up, which forced some quick decision making from Greene Central. Head coach Tammy Elbert was still pleased with how well her team played.

“First of all, they’re starting to click as a team,” she said. “They’re starting to execute better. They didn’t give up and normally we would be demoralized with a large deficit. We started to take the game one possession at a time and that’s why we were able to make it interesting at the end. The effort and energy were there and I was so proud of them tonight.”

As the Eagles continued to force turnovers, their lead began to grow in the second half. West Craven also used the offensive glass to create extra possessions. They started the third period on an 8-2 run to go up 12 at the halfway point of the quarter.

In the end, the Lady Eagles led by 18 at the end of the third quarter and didn’t look back from there.

“The girls are playing better than what their record states,” Elbert said. “They need to have confidence and they need to have fun out there. I feel like once they get in a rhythm we can win some games. There are signs of potential that I started to see from my team tonight.”

Tonight, Greene Central travels to Wilson to face Beddingfield, another team searching for its first win of the season.

“We need to have a fast start and play with the same effort we played with in the fourth quarter,” Elbert said. “We have the tendency to look at the scoreboard and get down on themselves, so we can only focus on taking the game possession by possession. We have to play a complete game and I think we’re capable of doing so.”

– Laieke Abebe

Washington 53, North Pitt 43

The Panthers were stung on the road in a 10-point loss to the Pam Pack, dropping NP to 8-5 overall as it prepares to play on the road again on Friday night at Beddingfield.

Casandra Watson was the Panters’ lone double-digit scorer with 14 in the loss.

MIDDLE SCHOOLS

Ayden boys 66, Bethel 32

Ayden picked up another win to push its record to 7-0 after a win over Bethel on Tuesday night.

Ayden was led by Terrance Nicholson, who scored 21 points. Alex Moye (19 points) and Cole Evans (14 points) also had sizable contributions in the win. Ayden is off until Jan. 14, when it hosts C.M. Epps.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Hope 25, A.G. Cox 22

Hope picked up a close win over A.G. Cox behind 11 points from Kylah Silver.

Once again, Karma May also had a good outing, finishing with nine points. The Mustangs remain undefeated and host PS Jones Thursday night.

Bethel girls 38, Ayden 21

Bethel extended its strong season record to 6-1 with an easy win, thanks in part to 10 points from Miranda Tucker and 11 from Staton.

Bethel plays at Wellcome on Thursday.

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High Schools

March 18, 2019

RALEIGH

Pitt County has firmly placed itself as one of the premier locations in tradition-rich North Carolina for high school basketball. Just take a look at the three teams that competed for state championships Saturday night.

South Central brought in an exciting team with a mix of youth and…

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March 17, 2019

RALEIGH — Chants of “252, 252, 252 …” boomed in Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday during the final minute of South Central High School’s breakthrough and blowout victory over West Charlotte for the Falcons’ first boys’ basketball state championship.

After…

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March 16, 2019

RALEIGH — Standing at the free throw line with his team leading Forest Hills by almost 20 points on Saturday night in Reynolds Coliseum, Farmville Central star Justin Wright knew he and his team were just minutes away from their second state championship in four seasons.

Wright hit both…

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March 16, 2019

RALEIGH — South Central’s boys’ basketball team turned the NCHSAA 4-A state championship game into a blowout, leading the entire contest against West Charlotte and finishing a 72-46 victory.

Here are video scenes from the game:

South Central, Day'Ron Sharpe and coach…

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March 16, 2019

RALEIGH — As the clock moved closer and closer to zeros Saturday afternoon in Reynolds Coliseum, the smiles on the faces of coaches and players for the South Central boys’ basketball team got wider and wider.

As the sound of the buzzer completed a lopsided contest, the 4-A East No.…

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March 16, 2019

RALEIGH — Farmville Central pulled away from Forest Hills, 86-71, and won the NCHSAA 2-A state championship on Saturday night, completing an undefeated season of 32-0.

South Central, also from Pitt County, won the 4-A championship earlier in the day.

Here are some scenes from Farmville…

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March 16, 2019

RALEIGH — By the end of an another emotional game, it was a heartbreaking end to an amazing season for the Farmville Central girls’ basketball team on Saturday night.

The Jaguars were upended by Mountain Heritage, 63-53, in the 2-A state championship game.

The Jags (27-1) finished one…

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March 16, 2019

The end of the high school basketball season is here, and a trio of Pitt County teams are ready to compete for the title of state champion.

4-A BOYS’ FINAL 

No. 3 South Central (29-1) vs. No. 6 West Charlotte (25-6)

South Central put the state on notice after defeating both No. 2 seed…

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March 16, 2019

Farmville Central’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have the chance to make history tonight in Raleigh.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association confirmed this week that none of its member schools have ever won a boys’ and girls’ basketball state…

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March 15, 2019

Wednesday evening at South Central was business as usual for the Falcons’ basketball team. The squad ran drills and practiced ahead of Saturday’s 4-A state championship matchup with West Charlotte.

Working with his team was multi-sport star Jeremy Lewis, who will play in his final high…

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