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KENLY — Sluggish starts before a cavernous gymnasium awaited varsity girls basketball teams from SouthWest Edgecombe High and Farmville Central in Monday’s first round of the 2018 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tournament at North Johnston.
The Lady Jaguars, through SouthWest’s misadventures on defense or otherwise, emerged from the malaise after the first quarter. SouthWest didn’t, and by the time the fourth quarter arrived, an awakened Lady Cougars outfit found the deficit well out of their reach in a 66-48 loss.
SouthWest, the No. 4 seed which defeated Farmville Central in a pair of one-possession games in the regular season, fell to 12-9 and will await a possible bid into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs. Farmville Central, the No. 5 seed, improved to 12-9 and gets the assignment against regular-season champion North Pitt on the Lady Panthers’ home floor Wednesday night at 7:30.
Besides the neutral site and lack of spectators, the Lady Cougars were thrown for a loop in the pregame due to an equipment issue. The Lady Cougars did not have shin compression sleeves that were all of the same color, and the officials required SouthWest to change them before the game started.
“I think that kind of got their mind not focused,” veteran SouthWest head coach Sandra Langley said. “But we missed a lot of easy shots early in the first half that could have kept the game close. We got the ball inside well to Alonee (Smallwood), and she missed a lot of easy shots.”
The Lady Cougars led just once at 2-1 on a pair of free throws by Smallwood, a freshman, and didn’t record their first field goal until freshman point guard Jada Battle made a hook shot with 1:10 left in the period. The Jaguars emerged from the ragged quarter leading 7-6.
SouthWest’s poor shooting continued the second and third quarters, while Farmville Central owned the rebounding battle. Sophomore Ja`shyrah Carmon had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Lady Jaguars, while Monique Erazo had 16 of her 18 points in the second half.
The Lady Cougars were thrown out of rhythm in the first quarter with a pair of personal fouls each to senior Shayla Ellis and Battle.
Sophomore Bailey Davis heated up in the second half for the Lady Cougars, making four 3-pointers on her way to a team high 18 points. Her three treys in the fourth sparked SouthWest to a 25-point spree over the final eight minutes. Battle had 16.
But by then, it was far too late. The Lady Jaguars led 28-13 at the half and 49-23 entering the fourth.
Smallwood pulled down 14 rebounds for SouthWest.
FARMVILLE CENT. (66)
Joyner 8, Pitt, Erazo 18, Shepard 3, Randolph, Barnes 4, Pittman, Foskey 4, Pettaway 6, Carmon 10, Hood, Barrett 2, Staton, Speight 11.
SW EDGECOMBE (48)
Davis 18, Ellis 4, Battle 16, K. Williams, A. Mckinney 4, Smallwood 4, Glass, N. Mckinney
Score by quarters:
SW Edgecombe 671025—48