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KINSTON — In the first half of Saturday’s game against The Burlington School in the MLK Classic, Greenfield School head coach Rob Salter called eighth grader Hampton Evans, who had missed his first few shots.
“I pulled him to the side and said, ‘Are you ready to hit the big shot in this game?’” Salter recalled. “I told him to relax and get ready because we would need him.”
The veteran Knights head coach couldn’t have been more accurate, although Salter admitted that he didn’t know how accurate he would be. The 6-foot-4 Evans took a pass from senior Dji Bailey and swished a jumper at the buzzer to send the Knights to a 62-61 victory, their eighth in a row.
Greenfield, ranked No. 2 among North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A teams by Maxpreps.com, improved to 23-4 while the Spartans, fourth-ranked in NCISAA 1-A, tumbled to 16-7.
The Knights took a 52-45 lead going into the fourth quarter but the Spartans rallied in the game that had 13 lead changes and nine ties. The Burlington School led 60-58 with under a minute to when Evans made a prophet out of his coach by hitting a step-back jumper to tie the score with 40-some seconds to play. With fouls to give, Salter said he directed his players to foul but that strategy backfired when Spartans senior JaDun Michael, who has signed with Wichita State, was fouled in the act of shooting. Michael hit the first free throw but missed the second and Salter called timeout with 4.8 seconds left.
“When we thought they would have a little pressure, our plan was to have our best shooters (senior Creighton Lebo and Evans) in the corners,” Salter said. “Dji made the defense commit and then he made the perfect pass.”
Evans, who only had four points to that point, caught the ball, pump-faked to get the Spartans defender in the air, took a dribble and, with one foot on the 3-point arc, calmly swished the game-winner, leading to him being mobbed by his teammates.
“He just has ice-water in his veins,” Salter said.
Greenfield shot 41.1% from the floor (23 of 56) for the game but had to overcome 35.5% shooting (11 of 31) in the second half. The Knights were outrebounded 34-27.
Lebo led Greenfield with 16 points while senior Jordan Lynch had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Bailey had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists and senior Trey Pittman chipped in 12 points.
“We made hustle plays and I thought hustle plays won the game for us,” said Salter.
Michael led the Spartans with 19 points in the contest that was part of a six-game showcase at Kinston High. In the other games, Farmville Central downed the host Vikings 81-71; Winston-Salem Moravian Prep defeated Raleigh Word of God 65-61; Raleigh Leesville Road topped Pender County 72-64; Concord Cox Mill thumped Kill Devil Hills First Flight 76-47 and Wilmington Ashley clipped Raleigh Trinity Academy 66-58.
Greenfield is off until Friday when the Knights host Wayne Christian.
Score by quarters:
Burlington 16 19 10 16 — 61
Greenfield 19 13 20 10 — 62
Porter propels SWE to 2 wins
Behind the play of smooth, 6-foot-5 senior Keishon Porter, the SouthWest Edgecombe varsity boys basketball rolled to a pair of wins Friday and Saturday, extending the Cougars’ winning streak to nine.
Porter erupted for 30 points — the third time he’s gone for 30 or more — on 11-of-16 shooting as the Cougars flattened 2-A Eastern Plains Conference host North Pitt on Friday night in Bethel. On Saturday, Porter again led the way with 20 points in SouthWest’s 64-56 win against Princeton in a game that was part of the BSN Classic at Princeton. Porter’s 22.2 points per game ranks sixth statewide among North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A players, per Maxpreps.com.
Porter hit three 3-pointers at North Pitt (1-14, 0-2 EPC) as the Cougars (2-0 EPC) shot 48% (31 of 64) from the floor in the lopsided win Friday. He added 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. While no other SWE player scored in double figures, all 12 who played scored at least a point.
On Saturday, the Cougars were even more accurate, connecting on 25-of-47 attempts (53.2%) from the floor, including four 3-pointers. Senior Zach Sledge hit all five of his shots on his way to 14 points in SouthWest’s 12th win against two losses.
Princeton (10-4), the 1-A Carolina Conference co-leader, was led by Nayshin Waller’s 16 points.
SW EDGECOMBE (64)
Porter 20, Ruffin 7, Mayo 7, Hinton 5, Seabreeze 5, Wilkins 2, Sledge 14, Wright 4.
Whitley 9, McPhatter 4, McCain, Waller 16, Taylor 9, Bartholomew 2, Bailey 12, Potts 4.
Score by quarters:
SWE 12 16 17 19 — 64
Princeton 18 6 14 18 — 56
SW EDGECOMBE (84)
Porter 30, Ruffin 9, Mayo 9, Wooten 7, Hinton 6, Dickens 2, Jones 3, Seabreeze 6, Wilkins 1, Richardson 2, Sledge 4, Wright 5.
NORTH PITT (41)
No scoring information available.
SWE’s Davis hits 1,000-point mark in loss
BETHEL — A dismal showing from the foul line ruined a career milestone for SouthWest Edgecombe senior Bailey Davis, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark for career Friday in the Lady Cougars’ 55-51 varsity girls basketball loss at North Pitt.
Davis, who hit four 3-pointers on her way to 19 points, finished the game with 1,011 in her career. However, the Lady Cougars were 4 of 23 (17.4%) at the free-throw line while the Lady Panthers made 9 of 18. The victory was the second in as many 2-A Eastern Plains Conference games for North Pitt, now 11-5 overall, while SWE slumped to 1-1 in conference outings and 10-4 in all games.
SouthWest head coach Sandra Langley said three of her starters had to sit on the bench in the first half due to foul trouble. The Lady Panthers, up one after the first quarter, turned that into an 11-point lead by halftime.
However, the Lady Cougars roared back in the third quarter, only to stumble at the line. Langley said they missed the front end of several 1-and-1 attempts.
Freshman Jer’lisah Pridgen had 11 points for the Lady Cougars while senior Ashanti Hines’ 18 points paced North Pitt.
SouthWest will visit defending EPC champion Farmville Central on Tuesday.
SW EDGECOMBE (51)
Davis 19, Dunn 4, N. McKinney, Battle 6, Smallwood 5, A. McKinney 6, Pridgen 11, Jenkins.
NORTH PITT (55)
Maye 11, Pettaway 6, Staton 3, Bryant 9, Everette 3, Hines 18, Tyson 4, Bullock 1.
Score by quarters:
SWE 16 4 16 15 — 51
North Pitt 17 14 9 15 — 55
CBA takes top ECC spot for 3-A duals
The C.B. Aycock wrestling team claimed the top 3-A spot from the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference for the upcoming North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A dual-team playoffs Friday by winning a triangular match at D.H. Conley in Winterville.
As an encore Saturday, the Golden Falcons won the Cleveland Ram Duals tournament, their second duals title of the season to go with team crowns in two more individual tournaments. Saturday’s dominating wins — 69-12 over South Johnston, 60-21 over Neuse Charter of Smithfield, 80-0 over Swansboro and 46-27 over host Cleveland to finish 4-0 and improve to 22-3 on the season in dual matches.
That showing followed a dramatic victory on criteria over D.H. Conley on Friday night. The Falcons had to overcome a 36-24 deficit with only two matches left and then claimed the match on the criteria of fewer forfeited weight classes in the match. Senior Colby Perry worked out of a near pin of himself by Walker Kassnove to pin the Conley 152-pounder and claim the win and six points.
Next up was Falcons’ unbeaten senior Tyler Hughes, who appeared to have pinned Conley’s Jordan Anderson. However, Anderson had called for an injury timeout just before the pin. Still, Hughes got the win when Anderson couldn’t continue, forcing the criteria determination.
The Falcons will celebrate Senior Night on Wednesday as they host ECC foe South Central and Rocky Mount of the 3-A Big East Conference.