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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

PLAYOFFS: Falcons, Jags still rolling strong

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South Central's Shykeim Phillips, lefts, is guarded by Rolesville's Donovan Martin during a playoff game on Feb. 28, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, March 1, 2019

South Central cruised to the third round of the 4-A state playoffs Thursday night after defeating 14-seed Rolesville, 83-50.

The No. 3 seed Falcons had no problems mounting a quick lead, finishing the first quarter up 19-5. By the time the second quarter was over the Falcons held a comfortable 35-18 lead, but Rams head coach Thurman Johnson was very displeased with calls by the officiating crew.

Fouls mounted, and with them so did the tempers of Johnson and his Rolesville players. Just four seconds into the second half Johnson was assessed a technical foul by officials, who cited his previous three warnings in the previous half before dishing out two free throws for SC.

Shykeim Phillips led the way in what was an all-around solid offensive performance for the Falcons, finishing with a game-high 24 points. Jahzeer Baker also had a strong outing, dropping 19 points. Big man Day’Ron Sharpe scored 16. 

Phillips and Sharpe battled with their Rams counterparts, guard Donovan Martin and center Brandon Johnson. Both battles rose in intensity throughout the game, with Martin fouling out of the contest in the fourth quarter. Martin played Phillips very tight on inbound plays, while Johnson and Sharpe fought for position in the deep post. 

While Phillips won his battle by continually carving up the Rolesville defense, Sharpe showed early he would not be stopped, driving the lane and slamming home a dunk while drawing the foul, much to the delight of a packed student section.

The game was the first for SC in nearly two weeks, which head coach Chris Cherry noted caused some nerves and jitters early in the contest. 

“It took us a minute to adjust to the speed and the physicality of the game,” Cherry said. “But once we did, other than the free throw shooting, I think we played a really good game.” 

SC shot 68-percent from the line, finishing 20-for-29

The Falcons will host 11th seed Pinecrest Saturday in Winterville. Pincecrest upset sixth-seed Athens Drive on the road Thursday night, 54-42.

GIRLS’ GAME

South Central 78, Durham-Riverside 57

The sixth-seeded Falcons girls team also advanced to the third round Thursday night with a victory over 22 seed Durham-Riverside. 

Star shooter Ninevah Reddick exploded for a game-high 23 points, with Tadafia Wallace pitching in 11 points. Kayla Friend and Marissa Roach both added 10 points each. 

The Pirates played the Falcons close in the first half, which included four lead changes and a tie. In the end, a consistent shooting Reddick, combined with a momentum-changing and-one basket from Roach in the second quarter set SC up to glide in the second half for the win.

The Falcons will face their toughest test yet in the third round, when they hit the road to face three seed E.A. Laney in Wilmington. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

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

BOYS BASKETBALL

Greene Central 82, South Granville 58

Greene Central continued their quest for a 2-A state title with a win over South Granville.

“I’m pleased with our defense,” Rams head coach Theodore “Blue” Edwards said. “Our energy and effort were there. We were very connected defensively, especially in the first half. In the upcoming games, we have to be consistent because the teams get better as the rounds go on. The stakes also get higher, so I want to see our guys play at a high level.”

The Vikings (20-9) from Creedmoor won 80-69 over West Craven in their opening-round matchup, but they were flustered by the presence of UNCW signee Imajae Dodd early in the game. The star forward led the Rams with a flurry of dunks in the first two quarters and GC led 24-5 at the end of the first.

Dodd finished with an astounding stat line of 27 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and five blocks.

South Granville made a run led by sophomore guard Bobby Pettiford knocking down a couple of shots to cut the deficit to 12, but the Rams used the offensive glass and the three-point arc to their advantage.

Senior guard Hysaan Hudson hit a 3 at the halftime buzzer to give the Rams a 42-20 lead.

“There might be some nights where we don’t shoot well,” Edwards added. “Our defense will be the biggest key for us. As long as we bring energy and effort, we’re capable of doing great things. We feel good about our chances, especially with the personnel we have.”

After leading 66-38 at the end of the third quarter, South Columbus couldn’t recover.

Hysaan Hudson added 18 and Jekael Gay had 13 along with two blocked shots. Donte Johnson also finished in double figures with 10 points. Micah Jones had 22 points to lead South Granville.

Greene Central moves on to host First Flight on Saturday. The 10th-seeded Nighthawks from Kill Devil Hills went on the road and won 69-63 over South Columbus in the second round.

— Laieke Abebe

Farmville Central 92, St. Pauls 44

It was business as usual for the undefeated Farmville Central boys, as they defeated the St. Paul Bulldogs convincingly.

The Jaguars (28-0) coasted into the third round of the state playoffs and will host Kinston on Saturday night following the girls game.

After a 27-15 score after the end of one, the Jags put their foot on the accelerator and scored 39 points in the second quarter, forcing a running clock to begin the second half with a 66-25 score.

Farmville guard Justin Wright scored all of his 19 points in the first half to go along with nine rebounds and three assists.

“Coach (Larry Williford) told us to look at what we write on our wrist,” Wright said his coach told them before the game. “We write ‘one’ because we're a family. We just came together and played hard.”

Nine Jaguars found their way in the scoring column, but four ended their night in double-figures – Terquavion Smith (13), Dyquavis Wilkins (13), Samage Teel (20), and Wright.

“Our practices have been very competitive.” Williford said about motivating his undefeated Jaguars. “This is the deepest team I've had in 19 years. There's a lot of guys that are on the bench that are really good basketball players and they've taken our practices to another level.”

— Mitchell Thomas

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Farmville Central 85, Whiteville 47

Farmville Central continued their undefeated streak by defeating Whiteville on Thursday night in Farmville.

The Jaguars endured an early 17-10 deficit after the first quarter, but the explosive Farmville offense was too much for the Wolfpack down the stretch.

Farmville's Amiya Joyner collected 12 of her 16 rebounds in the first half, resulting in many second-chance baskets that were a big part of the 75-point outburst over the final three quarters. Additionally, Joyner had 18 points and pocketed another double-double this season.

“We needed to keep working as a team.” Joyner said about her coach's first quarter speech. “Don't let the score bother you and keep working.”

Farmville picked up right where it left off in the second half. Starting point guard Rashya Speight facilitated her offense, picking up 12 assists to pair with her nine points.

Three Jags ended their night in double figures – Jordan Joyner (16), Janiya Foskey (19), and Amiya Joyner.

“We played better defense.” FC coach Hollis Harper said. “I told them they can't start out flat in the playoffs. We got down and had to weather storm, we weathered the storm, came back, put pressure on them and we're glad it went our way.”

The No. 1-seeded Jaguars will host Vance County in the third round on Saturday night.

— Mitchell Thomas

GIRLS SOCCER

South Central 10, Washington 1

The Falcons needed barely any time in the second half to enforce the mercy rule on Washington in their season opener Wednesday.

Natalie Halderman led the way with five goals for SC. Tyran Thompson also had an explosive start to her season, scoring four goals, and Peyton Eubanks tallied the final score. 

BASEBALL

North Pitt 7, Tarboro 1

Matthew Bailey picked up the win in the Panthers’ opening-day victory over Tarboro. 

Bailey (1-3, R, BB), Gentry Green (3 Rs, BB), Hunter Phelps (1-2, 2 Rs, 3 RBIs, BB) and Jacob Peaden (R, BB) all tallied runs for NP. The Panthers (1-0) take the diamond tonight when they host Hertford County.

Ayden-Grifton 9, Pamlico County 4

A-G also picked up a win to start their season behind pitcher Conner Allen, who went three innings.

Aaron Pasour led the way from the plate, going 2-for-3 and knocking in a run. Mason Ross (1-1, HR, 2 Rs, 2 RBIs) also provided offense with his first home run of the season. 

The Chargers (1-0) hit the road tonight to face Northside-Pinetown.

J.H. Rose 8, Washington 5

J.H. Rose picked up a win behind a strong performance from sophomore Wade Jarman. Jarman finished with a filled stat line, going 2-for-4, scoring two runs and knocking in four RBIs.

The Rampants (1-0) will travel to face Fike tonight. 

SOFTBALL

Ayden-Grifton 4, Pamlico County 3

The Chargers (1-0) escaped their opening day matchup with Pamlico County with a one-run win. 

Aubrie Jones began her season with a 1.000 batting average after going 3-for-3 on the game. Kim Gurkins (2-3, R), Abby Langemann (R, BB), Mikayla Olejar (2-3, R) and Summer Little (R) provided the offense for A-G. 

The Chargers (1-0) will hit the road to face C.B. Aycock tonight.

Farmville Central 8, J.H. Rose 4

Farmville Central jumped to 1-0 after besting fellow Pitt County competitor J.H. Rose. 

Pitt Community College commit Kate Lancaster knocked three hits in the win. Abby Foster picked up her first win in the young season, pitching all seven innings.

The Jaguars will hit the road to take on Greene Central tonight, while Rose will also travel to face Riverside.

South Central 8, Corinth Holders 0

The Falcons softball squad opened their season with a win Thursday night, led by freshman Sarah Ebling going 3-4 for the plate, recording two RBIs. 

Senior Madison Deanes made her own offense as she tallied three runs in the game. The Falcons will host E.A. Laney tonight at 5 p.m.

MIDDLE SCHOOLS

BOYS SOCCER

Hope 10, G.R. Whitfield 1

Hope moved to 2-0 as four Mustangs recorded multiple goals — Baker Brimhall, Henry Conway, Corbin Jefferson and Marissa Sutton all recorded two each, and Jonah Chatham and Quincy Spangenburg added single goals.

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