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HOOPS PREVIEW: Regional Finals

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South Central’s Day’ron Sharpe dunks during a semifinal game against Eastern Wayne as a part of the the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference tournament on Feb. 21, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, March 8, 2019

Each bracket began with 32 teams, and while most have fallen, four local teams remain in contention to represent the east in the state championships on March 16. Here is a look at how each team stacks up to its competition ahead of this afternoon’s games in East Carolina’s Minges Coliseum.

BOYS

2-A East Region Final 

No. 1 Farmville Central vs No. 2 Greene Central (2p.m.)

Farmville Central head coach Larry Williford told The Daily Reflector Tuesday he thought he and the Jaguars would meet up with the Greene Central Rams in the regional final. The two have met three other times this season, with the undefeated Jaguars winning every matchup. 

FC sports one of the best backcourts in the state in the dynamic duo of Justin Wright and Terquavion Smith. Both have solid jump shots and possess the handles and speed to quickly move the ball in transition. Making up the rest of the starting rotation are swingman Semage Teel and big men Leonte Moye and Dyquavis Wilkins. Wilkins’ ability to space the floor with his own jump shot has proven valuable in opening up other offensive opportunities for teammates, while the group’s difficult zone defense can force shooters into bad positions. 

Rams head coach Blue Edwards has the Rams in the regional final for the third straight season, led by UNC Wilmington commit Imajae Dodd, who looks to end an historic career with a state championship. Dodd’s defensive skill opens up options for GC’s top shooters, Hysaan Hudson and Jakeal Gay. Also down low, Donte Johnson uses his size and agility to attack the glass. 

PREDICTION: Farmville Central picks up the season sweep of the Rams, as Dodd and Johnson end storied careers in Snow Hill. 

4-A East Region Final

No. 1 Millbrook vs No. 3 South Central (6 p.m.)

In what could be the most anticipated game in the state Saturday, the Falcons will take on top-seeded Millbrook. 

Coming off an upset of No. 2 Wakefield in Raleigh on Tuesday night, SC looks to be in prime position to advance to yet another state final. 

While the play of Shykeim Phillips and Day’Ron Sharpe is an attraction in itself, others such as Jahzeer Baker and Shy’Quan Jones have continued to rise to the occasion in the postseason. Baker, Jones, Phillips and Sharpe will match up against Millbrook stars Phillip Burwell (15 points per game) and Collin Lewis (11 PPG).

PREDICTION: SC’s depth off the bench and airtight defense propel the Falcons into the title game. 

GIRLS

No. 1 Farmville Central vs No. 3 Kinston (Noon)

The FC girls also will face off against a rival in the regional final, three seed Kinston. The two sides have not played one another this season, but are all too familiar with one another. 

The key to the Jaguars’ success has been in the post with senior Je’Shyra Carmon and breakout freshman Amiya Joyner. Joyner possesses the length to block shots and the handles to quickly push the ball up the floor. Guard Jordan Joyner is also coming off a stellar performance in the fourth round against NC School of Science and Math. 

Kinston barely advanced in round four, needing a last-second shot to defeat Ledford Senior. 

PREDICTION: Farmville Central rolls over Kinston into the state final.

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

BASEBALL

D.H. Conley 14, Ayden-Grifton 9

Conley overturned an early 4-2 Chargers lead, using a key five-run fourth inning to create the necessary breathing room to outlast the visitors.

Austin Jones, Brandon Benfield and Blake McLawhorn each drove in a pair of runs in the loss for A-G, while Jackson Upchurch had two hits. 

SOFTBALL

D.H. Conley 11, Corinth Holders 1 (5 inn.)

The Vikings cruised to a win in five innings over Corinth Holders on Thursday.  Anna Sawyer (3-4, 2B, HR) led the way from the plate for DHC. Others having strong outings included Madison Rose (3-3, 2B), Maggie Craig (2-3, 3 Rs HR) and Alexis Phillips (1-4, 2 Rs, HR).

Pitcher Lauren Wiles picked up the win, giving up no hits, two walks and the Pirates’ only earned run. 

South Central 23, J.H. Rose 0

South Central’s explosive offense continued to shine in a blowout of rival J.H. Rose on Thursday.

Senior Amaya Evans was the head of the charge, finishing the day 2-for-2, hitting a home run, scoring two runs and knocking in five RBIs. Jessica Purcell (3-3, 3 Rs, RBI), Amyah Coleman (3 Rs), Sarah Elbeing (1-3, 3 Rs), and Anna Mewborn (1-1, 3 Rs, 3 RBIs) also had strong performances. 

South Central 10, West Carteret 0

SC used 11 hits to down West Carteret on Wednesday afternoon. Purcell led the way, going 3-for-4, driving in three runs. Coleman scored three runs on the night to help provide a large amount of the team’s offense.

TENNIS

D.H. Conley 5, C.B. Aycock 1

Conley got singles victories from Sean Jung, Drew Varnell, Connor Whitehurst Will Vodicka and Lawernce Mavarro on Thursday night to remain undefeated.

DHC (3-0, 2-0) will host New Bern Tuesday.

GIRLS SOCCER 

D.H. Conley 6, Wilson Fike 0

DHC defated Wilson-Fike in a nonconference matchup Wednesday. Ashley Tucker led the way with two goals, while goalie Maeve English earned the shutout.

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High Schools

March 19, 2019

Strong pitching was the key for D.H. Conley in its 4-3 win Tuesday over crosstown rival J.H. Rose at Hollywood Crossroads. 

The trio of UNC-Greensboro commit Robbie O’Neal (3 IP, 6 Ks, 2 ER), Davis Pugh (1.2 IP, 2Ks, ER) and Mitchell Hofler (2 IP, 4Ks) helped Conley escape with the first…

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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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