Falcons make statement in 70-50 win
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, March 9, 2019
South Central put the state on notice after dominating No. 1 seeded Millbrook Saturday night, 70-50, in the 4-A East Region final in Minges Coliseum.
It was the second upset of the week for the three-seeded Falcons, who defeated second-seeded Wakefield, 79-45, Tuesday night in Raleigh.
Falcons head coach Chris Cherry was emotional after sending his squad to receive the regional trophy. Cherry brushed off the notion that the win provided a form of vindication for their seeding.
“We could care less about it,” Cherry said. “We’ll play anybody, any time, any place. We could care less about that.”
Superstar forward Day’Ron Sharpe had an outstanding performance, finishing with a game-high 26 points and 15 rebounds. Sharpe said in the postgame he felt the Falcons had secured the mental advantage early in the game.
“Right in the first quarter and we were up by 12,” Sharpe said of when he thought his team took control. “They were on the court arguing with each other and their chemistry was out of order.”
The victory also provided a sense of redemption for the Falcons, who have year after year fallen to similar, Raleigh-based opponents in the regional finals.
“Oh it hurt the last two years,” Sharpe said. “Having an undefeated season and losing in the regional final close every time. So winning today, it was crazy. I can’t even describe it.”
The Falcons held Millbrook to its lowest scoring output of the season, and senior guard Shykeim Phillips gave credit to his coach.
“Coach, he does a good job with the scouting report,” Phillips said. “He brought it to us and we went over it, and we just played good defense.”
Phillips finished with 21 points in an improved in the second half, while Cydney Williams added nine points.
Sharpe had no problem bringing down rebounds in the contest, allowing for several second-chance point opportunities, leading his team to a 23-11 lead at the end of the first. Jahzeer Baker (four points) also worked to get to the free throw line, forcing Millbrook stars Phillip Burwell and Collin Lewis into early foul trouble.
Holding a 35-20 lead out of the break, Sharpe threw down a dunk to open the second half, sending a sellout crowd in Minges, most of which donned Falcons gear, into a frenzy. Sharpe was sure to share the victory with the Falcons’ student section after the win.
“They’ve been with us the whole time, the past three years,” Sharpe said. “They are true fans.”
The Falcons will head to Reynolds Coliseum on N.C. State’s campus on Saturday to face West regional final winner West Charlotte.
“They’re an outstanding basketball team,” Cherry said said of West Charlotte. “We got the chance to see them twice at the John Wall. The kid going to Florida State (Patrick Williams) is a good ball player. We’ll have our scouting report ready and hopefully have Jeremy (Lewis) back and he can guard him and we can go out and do our thing.”
Contact Jake Keator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.