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Jaguars complete sweep of Rams

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Justin Wright (#5) fights off Greene Central players during a game on Saturday.

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By Laieke Abebe
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, March 9, 2019

For the fourth time this season, Greene Central and Farmville Central met on the hardwood, but this one was for all the marbles, as a berth in the 2-A boys basketball state championship game was on the line at Minges Coliseum.

In the end, there was no 2-A East regional repeat for the Rams. Instead, it was yet another statement victory from the undefeated Jaguars.

Farmville Central (31-0) never trailed in a 78-59 win over Greene Central to advance to the 2-A state title game. The Rams (23-8) fell into a deep hole early in the game and never recovered despite cutting into the Jaguars’ lead.

“I thought we were everywhere defensively,” Jaguars head coach Larry Williford said. “For the last month and a half, we’ve hit another gear, especially on that end. We’ve had competitive practices all season and it’s really helped us in games. At some points, we had to stop practice because of how competitive my team was. That just shows that we have a lot of dog in us.”

Just like the girls team, the Farmville Central boys will play for the 2-A state championship Saturday. The Jaguars will face defending champion Forest Hills on the campus of N.C. State. Forest Hills defeated Greene Central 63-59 to win last year’s 2-A state title game.

It’s the end of what has been a season of learning experiences for first-year GC head coach Blue Edwards.

“I’m extremely proud of my team,” he said. “We’ve had some growing pains along the way, but we came together at the right time. We were playing as a collective unit on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, we played against a team that was a little bit better than us today. Farmville Central is well-coached and they deserve a lot of credit for their performance.”

The Jaguars began the game with a lot of energy. Their offense and defense were flowing early and they proved how great they were early in the contest. Greene Central got good looks early, but weren’t knocking down outside shots.

Farmville Central forced a lot of turnovers, and a dunk from N.C. State commit Terquavion Smith punctuated a fast-paced opening period for the Jaguars. The Rams found themselves trailing 25-4 going into the second quarter.

FC’s Justin Wright got into the act during the first 16 minutes of the game. He controlled the game from the beginning as the Jaguars lead continued to grow. Rams Imajae Dodd and Donte Johnson threw down some impressive dunks in the second quarter, but Farmville Central had an answer for every good play the Rams made.

After leading 49-20 at halftime, Farmville Central never really looked back. It was a team effort from the Jaguars that kept the Rams from making a big run in the second half. FC took a 63-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars proved once again too be a little too much for the Rams. However, Greene Central faced a lot of adversity in getting to the regional final. The Rams had to battle back from a tough loss to Kinston in the Eastern Carolina 2-A conference championship.

Wright led the way with 24 points, eight rebounds, five assists and seven steals for the Jaguars. The junior guard has been filling stat sheets all season and came up with another big performance against the Rams.

“It means a lot to me,” Wright said. “I love my team. We’ve been working hard all year for this. Playing that overtime game during Christmas and against [Greene Central] in the fourth round last year motivated us to start good today.”

In the final few minutes, there was a scare with Terquavion Smith getting what appeared to be cramping in his left calf in the fourth quarter. However, the sophomore guard still finished with 14 points, as did junior guard Samage Teel. Dyquavis Wilkins added 11 for Farmville Central.

For Greene Central, Dodd had 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks and three steals. In his final game for Greene Central, he left it all on the court, giving the fans a show with some incredible dunks. Now, he’ll take his talents to the beach to play for UNCW next season.

“We came out and played hard since day one,” Dodd said. “Everyone doubted that we’d make it back to regionals, but we got back. I want the fans of Greene Central to remember me as someone who gave it their all every night. Greene County will always be home to me and I can take a lot of things from there to the next level.”

Junior guard Kentrell Suggs chipped in with 15 for the Rams, and he should be a focal point of the Rams basketball team next season.

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