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SNOW HILL — Two key parts to Greene Central High’s trip to the 2019 North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A East Region boys basketball final, Donte Johnson and Jekael Gay, signed to play at Fayetteville Technical Community College on Tuesday.
Johnson was a part of three straight runs to the 2-A East Region final, including the 2018 state 2-A championship appearance. In Johnson’s four years on the varsity team, his role increased every season and the Rams went 91-27 in that span. Johnson also scored over 1,000 points in his basketball career.
“It’s going to be different and a lot harder, but I’m going to work harder and not give up,” Johnson said. “I’m going to hold it down. I’ve seen players go there and then go pro or go somewhere else and keep doing what they love. I would love to do that also.”
Gay came to Greene Central this season as a transfer from Ayden-Grifton. The Rams, who lost five seniors on the perimeter from the 2017-18 state runner-up team, enjoyed Gay’s length and versatility on the wing. The 6-foot-5 forward had his best game against 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference foe West Craven with a season-high 19 points on Jan. 8. Gay also had 13 points in the second and third round playoff games against South Granville and First Flight. Gay said head coach Theodore “Blue” Edwards has been helpful in this process.
“He told me to have faith, trust, come to practice every day, give it your all, college fly by fast and try to have fun,” Gay said. “I’ve been having contact with the Fayetteville Tech coach since throughout the season and he looked at me like a son. I thought it was family and I thought that would be the best bet for me throughout the process.”
The two players will now go down a path Edwards went down more than 30 years ago because before Edwards made it to East Carolina University and the NBA, he played at Louisburg College.
“I told them that the summer between your senior year and going into college is probably going to be the biggest summer of your life,” Edwards said. “You’re still going to love basketball, but it’s going to become more of a job for you, as opposed to something to just pass time. Once that seriousness kicks in, you’ll start to see that development and growth.”
Both players are happy they’ll still be teammates as they have chemistry from last season. Gay and Johnson will both major in business administration.