FC girls fall to unbeaten Cougars
BY LAIEKE ABEBE
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, 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 win short of an undefeated season. It was West Regional champion Mountain Heritage from Burnsville that accomplished a rare unbeaten record of 29-0.
Coach Hollis Harper’s Farmville team was trying to win a state tile for the first time since it won it all in 2006.
While the Jaguars made a great effort to get back in the game after falling behind by 15 points during the third quarter, it was too late. The Cougars were just a little bit more effective throughout the contest.
“They’re a great team,” Harper said. “They had a great game plan. When you lose every quarter against a fundamentally sound team, things won’t go well. We’re a young team and this was a good experience for us.”
Frustration set in at times for the young Jaguars, who had only has two seniors in Diantynese Williams and Zion Shepard.
Freshman Amiya Joyner finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks.
FC led for seven minutes. Its largest lead was by four points, 6-2, with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter.
Mountain Heritage led 32-30 at halftime and it was 32-32 when a 15-0 run broke the game open for the Cougars.
FC junior Rashya Speight fouled out of the game, and while it wasn’t a happy ending for her team, she highlighted that the team is tightly connected.
“We’re proud,” she said. “I wish we could have ended the season how we started. Our team is a family and we’ll always stick together.”
Meanwhile, for coach Susie Shelton and the Cougars, they enjoyed the title of finishing their season as an undefeated state champion. It is Mountain Heritage’s eighth straight season with 20 or more wins.
Most Valuable Player Hannah Tipton, a smooth sophomore guard, led the way with 29 points. She was 13-of-18 from the free throw line.
“We’re very blessed,” Shelton said after the game. “I don’t know if it’s set in yet, but we’re so excited to get this done. (Farmville Central is) so athletic and long, so we wanted to figure out how to guard them.
It was so surreal to hear my name chanted in the arena. The fans showed their love and respect for me, so it means a lot.”
Two more double-figure scorers for Farmville were Jordan Joyner (12 points) and Ja’Shyran Carmon (11).
Farmville Central will return almost its entire roster for next season. The Jaguars will be a tough out once again after not getting the ending they wanted this year.
“I’m very proud of my team for getting to this point,” Harper said. “Most of my team will be coming back, so that will help us. Hopefully, we’ll take this loss into next season as motivation.”