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I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Falcons, Jags, Rams all advance

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South Central's Shykeim Phillips goes to shoot during a state playoff win against Pinecrest on March 2, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Fans were lined up out the door in front of South Central High School Saturday afternoon in advance of the third-seeded Falcons third round matchup with 11-seed Pinecrest.

Those who waited were treated to another blowout win, 69-44, and another dominating performance by UNC-commit and big man Day’Ron Sharpe.

Sharpe, who stands at a daunting 6-foot-10, dwarfed everyone wearing a Pinecrest uniform. Sharpe’s size and mobility down low allowed him to take over the game, finishing with 28 points. Others who had standout offensive nights were Jahzeer Baker (14 points) and Shykeim Phillips (10 points).

Falcons head coach Chris Cherry wasn’t pleased with his team’s free throw shooting performance in the second round against Rolesville Thursday. SC shot just 68 percent against the Rams, and the numbers didn’t get any better Saturday, as the Falcons finished 17-for-27 from the stripe, just 62 percent. 

“We gotta get better,” Cherry said. “The games get tighter as we go along, but we’re just looking for consistent effort. I feel confident we’ll see some improvement next time.”

From the opening tip, Sharpe made sure to introduce himself to the Patriots roster, scoring 10 of the team’s 26 points in the first quarter, including three consecutive offensive possessions ending in free throws. SC’s defense also played tough, as the Falcons led 26-5 at the end of the first.

Shy’Quan Jones fired off three triples in the first half, hitting on every attempt. Jones finished with nine points on the night. Baker also continued to shine, hitting two 3-pointers and distributing the ball well. The Falcons walked into halftime with a comfortable 39-11 advantage. 

“I thought we were very good defensively tonight,” Cherry said. “They run a very structured offense, and they change sides a lot and try to force mistakes, but I thought we struggled a little. But after that we got a feel for them and really locked down on them.”

Sharpe once again took control in the third, scoring 10 of the Falcons’ 16 points. Pinecrest scored 20 in the third, the only quarter the Patriots outscored SC. 

The Falcons allowed only three different Patriots to score deep into the fourth quarter, being led by an admirable performance from Bradlee Haskell, who finished with 25 points. 

The Falcons will hit the road Tuesday to face two-seed Wakefield. Wakefield defeated 10-seed Panther Creek Saturday, 76-73.

Cherry said he and his staff have already scouted and formulated a game-plan as to how to attack Wakefield. No matter who won, the Falcons were already prepared.

“As a staff in short-turnaround situations, you always have to prepare a game or two ahead,” Cherry said. “So we had already done our preparation for either team. Come Tuesday, we’ll be prepared.”

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

Farmville Central 78, Kinston 66

The Farmville Central boys basketball team was tested on Saturday night in Farmville, but prevailed over Kinston.

After many lopsided victories on the Jaguars season, they were forced to grind one out against a Kinston team that wouldn't go away. FC will move onto Tuesday night's fourth-round matchup, where they will host Vance County following the girls game.

Farmville's Terquavion Smith got the Jags going with a couple early 3s and he never cooled off. Smith finished with 26 points.

“I feel good. I couldn't have done it without my teammates.” Smith said. “We're all in this together, so without them I'd be nothing.”

The Vikings didn't make it easy for Farmville, as they hit some big shots late in the game, but cutting the lead to eight points at the 2:25 mark in the fourth quarter was as close as they could get, as the Jags hit the majority of their free throws down the stretch.

Four FC scorers reached double figures – Justin Wright (20), Samage Teel (13), DyQuavis Wilkins (11) and Smith.

Despite the offense putting up 78 points, defense is what FC coach Larry Williford said was the key in Saturday night's victory.

“I thought our guys were tough. Defensively man, we were just on top of it.” Williford said. “Not our best offensive game, but defensively I thought we were everywhere.”

— Mitchell Thomas

Greene Central 78, First Flight 69

With First Flight coming to town on Saturday, it was a true clash of styles at Greene Central. The Nighthawks, who were the 10th seed from Kill Devil Hills, love to shoot 3-pointers. Greene Central had not seen a style like that this season.

The Rams, however, were able to overcome a double-digit deficit to win and advance to the fourth round of the 2-A state playoffs.

The different styles of play certainly showed early as the Nighthawks started the game off strong. Chad Williams’ team led 23-11 at the end of the first quarter with its shooting prowess on full display.

Because big man Imajae Dodd and Greene Central struggled early, the Rams went to a smaller lineup to counter against the Nighthawks. The result was game changing and head coach Theodore “Blue” Edwards knew it. He was happy with how his team has adjusted to the different styles of their opponents thus far in the playoffs.

“Our small lineups were really beneficial,” Edwards said. “Usually, we feature Imajae Dodd and he leads us on both ends of the floor, but with an opponent like (First Flight) we had to go small for most of the game. I thought B.J. Corbitt played excellent along with the rest of our guards and wings. As our defense goes, so does our offense and we’ll need that going forward.”

Edwards played junior forward Kentrell Suggs for most of the game and it paid dividends. He made four triples in the first half and was locked in on defense.

Led by Suggs, the Rams fought back to take the lead late in the second quarter. For how well the Nighthawks played in the first 16 minutes, Greene Central took a 41-40 lead into the second half.

While Dodd was held down for a while, the UNCW signee still made an impact on the game defensively. Corbitt, Hysaan Hudson, and Jekael Gay all came up big.

Hudson got up for a two-handed jam to ignite the crowd in the second half. After the game, he highlighted the Rams’ recent loss to Kinston as a way of motivation and focus for their playoff run.

“I think the Kinston loss humbled us,” he said after his 19-point performance. “We had to pay attention to detail in practice over the last week. When it’s playoff time, it’s win or go home and we don’t want to go home. These are important games and we want to get the job done. As long as we bring intensity on defense, we’ll be fine.”

Greene Central’s lead was trimmed to three late in the fourth quarter because of some careless play. The Nighthawks had played well enough to be in the game at the end. Although they went cold from three in the second half, First Flight made a couple of long-range shots to keep it close.

However, it wasn’t meant to be as the Rams defense held down the Nighthawks long enough to get past them. Along with Hudson’s 19 points, Suggs had 18 big points off the bench.

“We had to stay focused,” Suggs said after the game. “I thought our defense was good for the most part. (First Flight) shoots a lot of 3s, so we had to close out to their shooters. A lot of my teammates contributed to the win tonight. In the end, we just want to play our game and good things will happen.”

Dodd had five of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. Gay added 13 points and Corbitt also finished in double figures with 10 for Greene Central. Dodd was surprised by First Flight’s shooting spree.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “All of them could shoot and I was tired. They played us really well tonight. Coach Williams had them prepared and they gave us a run for our money.”

The Rams will host sixth-seeded Hertford County on Tuesday, and the winner of that game will go to the east regional final next Saturday.

— Laieke Abebe

GIRLS BASKETBALL

E.A. Laney 55, South Central 35

The six-seeded South Central girls team saw its season come to an end after falling to three seed E.A. Laney on the road. 

The Falcons were led by Ninevah Reddick, who dropped 13 points in the final game of her high school career. Fellow seniors Anna Mewborn (seven points) and Cyanni Whitfield (seven points) also brought their basketball careers to a close. 

The Falcons graduate eight total seniors: Whitfield, Mewborn, Reddick, Marissa Roach, Mariah White, Amaya Evans, Tadafia Wallace and Jasmine Ward.

Farmville Central 79, Vance County 58

The Farmville Central girl's basketball team defeated the Vance County vipers Saturday night in Farmville to advance to the fourth round of the 2-A playoffs.

A slow start for the Jags was turned around in the second quarter. FC sophomore guard Jordan Joyner splashed 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to begin the quarter, leading her team to a 41-30 halftime lead. Joyner finished with 28 points and tallied four rebounds.

“We're just trying to get a ring.” Joyner said. “I love the way we’re playing. I felt good tonight. We just gotta continue to play as a family, play as a team, and we'll get what we're wishing for.”

In the second half, Vance County came out firing, connecting on 3s on four consecutive possessions to trim the Jaguar lead, but the FC offense wasn't slowed down, and the defense stepped up big in the second half.

“We're feeling good.” FC coach Hollis Harper said. “Defense wins ball games. They had a good offense and shooter, we put pressure on them and we were able to play good defense on them.”

Jags junior point guard Rashya Speight had another big night, dishing out 12 assists and swiping five big steals on the night.

Amiya Joyner coined in another double-double, scoring 20 points and 12 rebounds. Her teammate, Janiya Foskey, scored 17 points off the bench with five rebounds.

The Jaguars (25-0) are on a quest to their first-ever state championship, moving one step closer to the fourth round. They will host the undefeated North Carolina School of Math and Sciences (32-0) Tuesday night.

— Mitchell Thomas

BASEBALL

North Pitt 2, Ayden-Grifton 0

North Pitt (3-0) continued its early season success with a win over fellow Pitt County competitor Ayden-Grifton (2-1) Saturday evening. 

Star pitcher and Davidson commit Jacob Peaden earned his first win of the season with the shutout. Peadon allowed just five hits on the game. Blake McLawhorn recieved the loss for the Chargers, giving up three hits and two runs, one earned, in six innings of work.

Gentry Green (1-2, R, BB) Ruban Beltran (1-3, RBI) and Peaden (1-3, R) were the only Panthers to earn hits. For A-G, Josh Harris (1-3), Jordan Atkinson (1-3), Brandon Benfield (1-3) and McLawhorn (2-3) all got on base, but the offense began and ended with their trips to the plate.

NP will host Southside on Tuesday, while A-G travels to face Pamlico County. 

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Humans of Greenville

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

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