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Coaches introduced ahead of championship

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Farmville Central athletics director and head boys basketball coach Larry Williford is interviewed at the NCHSAA press conference in Durham Tuesday morning.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

DURHAM — Coaches of the 16 remaining playoff high school basketball teams converged on Durham Tuesday morning to partake in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s state title games at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh and the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

Farmville Central is on the cusp of a historic season, not only for the small Pitt County community but for the state record books. Both Jaguars teams enter as undefeated No. 1 seeds. 

“It would be great (to accomplish the sweep),” Jaguars head girls basketball coach Hollis Harper said. “It would be great. If the 2-A boys and the 2-A girls win, it would be incredible for the town of Farmville.”

Harper and his squad will face off with fellow one-seed and West Region champion Mountain Heritage. With everything on the line, Harper has chosen to keep his routine the same.

“The preparation is the same,” Harper said. “It’s just another game. I’m letting them (the girls) know it’s just another game to play and we have one more left.” 

It will be the second game in a large arena for the Jaguars, who defeated Kinston, 76-56, last weekend at Minges Coliseum. Harper isn’t worried about his young team performing on another big stage. 

“My team is young,” Harper said. “I could tell the other day when we were in that big arena at ECU. They just have to take it like another game. I know they’re young, but they’re talented. I hope we can take the nerves and make them play another good game.” 

Jaguars boys coach Larry Williford was also on hand at the event. FC’s boys team will face off against two-seed Forest Hills.

The Jaguars and Yellow Jackets met once prior to the beginning of the regular season at the East Coast Invitational.

“We know they have high-level guards who can shoot the ball, eerily similar to us,” Williford said of Forest Hills. “They can score a lot of different ways. It’s going to be very important for us to defend the three-point line.” 

Like the girls squad, the Jaguars boys team is filled with underclassmen, with star guard Terquavion Smith just a sophomore. Despite his young age, Williford is confident in Smith and his team’s ability to disregard the noise and hype surrounding Saturday’s contest. 

“Terquavion started every game as a freshman,” Williford said. “He’s got a lot of those nerves out of his way. I think anyone who steps on that basketball court Saturday is going to have adrenaline running early on at a high level for those first two or three minutes. Once everyone calms down, I think it’s going to be a great basketball game.” 

South Central head coach Chris Cherry was with his assistant coaches to represent the three-seed Falcons as they face sixth-seeded West Charlotte.

Like Harper, Cherry and his team will stick with the practice routines that brought them to the title game.

“(We’re not doing) anything special,” Cherry said. “You just keep doing the same things you’ve done thus far this year. You don’t try to reinvent the wheel on championship week.” 

The Falcons advance to the state final after falling just short the previous two seasons. Cherry heaped praise on his team for fighting through the barrier that has held them back.

“For me, I’m just happy for the kids,” the coach said. “I’ve been here two previous times, and for these kids, and the hard work they’ve put in over the last three years, to see them rewarded with a chance to see them play in the state championship game is just outstanding.” 

Follow the Daily Reflector all week for continuing coverage ahead of the NCHSAA basketball state championship games this weekend. 

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

SOFTBALL

Wilson-Hunt 9, Farmville Central 8

The Jaguars fell just short against Wilson-Fike Monday evening, losing in eight innings. 

FC received a fantastic outing from leadoff batter and Pitt Community College commit Kate Lancaster, who finished 4-for-5, scoring three runs. Abby Foster (2-4, R, RBI), Caroline Breault (2-5, R, RBI), Matalyn Baxter (2-2, R, RBI) and Ava Loper (2-3, R, RBI) all scored for the Jaguars. Foster (0-1) took the loss. 

The Jags (1-2) will face Wilson-Fike on Friday in Farmville. 

South Central 12, North Johnston 3

SC’s perfect record remained intact Monday as the Falcons downed North Johnston. 

A four-run second inning gave SC a comfortable lead early, allowing head coach Cotton Nicholson to rely on his defense to close the game out.

Senior Madison Deanes had a perfect night at the plate, finishing 4-for-4 while scoring two runs and driving in two. Sarah Ebling continued to show why she earned her spot on the roster in her freshman campaign, going 2-for-3 and scoring three runs. 

South Central 16, Eastern Wayne 0

South Central picked up a win over Eastern Wayne Tuesday night. Anna Mewborn provided plenty of offense, finishing 2-for-3 while scoring three runs and picking up three RBIs. Marissa Roach finished with the same stat line while Isabel Moore picked up the win.

SC (6-0) will travel to take on West Carteret on Friday. 

D.H. Conley 7, C.B. Aycock 0

Conley’s offense continued to roll to start the season in a shutout of 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference for C.B. Aycock. 

Lauren Wiles picked up the win, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out 11 batters. Madison Rose went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, while Trinity Nichols went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Also for DHC, Anna Sawyer went 2-for-3, scoring two runs and Maggie Craig went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs.

Conley (3-1, 2-0) will host Havelock tonight.

BASEBALL

D.H. Conley 8, C.B. Aycock 0

DHC’s baseball squad picked up a win over conference opponent C.B. Aycock on Tuesday. 

UNC-Greensboro commit Robbie O'Neal threw a gem, striking out 12 in five innings of work. O'Neal also paced the Conley offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Cam Jackson and Jake Lysaght collected two hits each. Josh McCarter had a great night at the plate going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

The Vikings (5-0, 2-0) will travel to face Wakefield Thursday.

North Pitt 12, Southside 3

North Pitt added another win in what has been a highly successful start to the season. The Panthers sit at 6-0 and look to be a contender for an Eastern Plains 2-A Conference title. 

NP will host Bertie Friday.

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High Schools

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