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ROCKY MOUNT — Recovering from a slow start, the Hunt High varsity girls basketball team turned to senior Imani Sutton to help steady the course in the second quarter and send the Lady Warriors into the championship game of the 3-A Big East Conference tournament with a 63-49 win over Northern Nash on Thursday night.
Hunt, the No. 2 seed in the field, improved to 17-6 and will face regular-season champion Rocky Mount on either Friday or Saturday back at Northern Nash. The championship game will be held at the site of the highest remaining boys seed, which will be No. 2 Northern Nash after the Hunt boys were evicted from the tourney by archrival Fike in other action Thusday.
Three players reached double figures for Hunt, led by Sutton’s 16. Two other seniors reached the plateau, with Dylia Lucas getting 14 and Griffith 13. Griffith also compiled a double-double with 10 rebounds.
With Hunt leading by five entering the final quarter, Lucas was the beneficiary of the penetration of Sutton and Griffith, with double-team collapses leaving Lucas open around the basket for easy finishes. Lucas had 11 of her 14 points in the fourth as Sutton recovered from early cramps to become a late catalyst.
Although Hunt cannot improve its position relative to North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoff seeding, an opportunity exists to win the season series against Rocky Mount — something Hunt head coach Tiffany Parks identified as key. Had Hunt not dropped a outlying game at Southern Nash during the regular season, this third meeting with the Lady Gryphons would be for the No. 1 seed from the league for playoff purposes.
“This third matchup will, for me, be the deciding game, to me basically to see who is better,” Parks said.
Hunt helped its cause going 19 for 21 from the free-throw line and shot 21 of 61 from the floor for a 34% showing.
Northern Nash (17-7), the No. 3 seed, was led by the 14 points of Kanasia Arrington.
NORTHERN NASH (49)
Spooner 5, Thigpen 1, Hedgepeth 10, Wiggins 3, Foster 7, Arrington 14, Evans 2, Williams 2, Clark 2, Johnson 3.
Griffith 13, McNeil 4, Mercer 3, Haley 6, Tucker 7, Sutton 16, Lucas 14.
Score by quarters:
Northern Nash 16 10 13 10 — 49
Hunt 10 22 12 19 — 63
Cougars march into EPC finals with win over Bulldogs
PINETOPS — Senior Slade Hinton hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the second half, opening up the lead for his SouthWest Edgecombe High varsity boys basketball team in a 78-73 victory over Nash Central in the semifinals of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tournament on Thursday night.
Four players scored in double figures for the No. 2 seed Cougars, who improved to 19-5 and will face top seed Farmville Central either Friday or Saturday for the tournament championship.
Senior Keishon Porter had 18 points, with sophomore Zay Mayo adding 16. Senior Dorien Ruffin had 11.
Nash Central, the No. 4 seed, dropped to 10-14 and was led by Isaiah Miller’s 31 points.
NASH CENTRAL (73)
Miller 31, Richardson 17, G. Brown 10, Joyner 6, C. Brown 4, Pittman 4, Joyner 2, Howington 2.
SW EDGECOMBE (78)
Porter 18, Mayo 16, Hinton 15, Ruffin 11, Sledge 6, Wilkins 5, Wooten 3, Seabreeze 2, Wright 2.
Score by quarters:
Nash Central 12 13 20 28 — 73
SW Edgecombe 10 22 27 19 — 78
Golden Falcons lose control in second half
PIKEVILLE — After reaching a tie at 19 at halftime, the C.B. Aycock boys basketball team lost control of the game to Winterville South Central on Wednesday night to fall 52-42 in the semifinals of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament.
Senior Charles Walker reached a team-high 16 points for the Golden Falcons (14-12, 6-6) in defeat, while senior teammate Alijuan Moore added 10, but the offensive output in crunch time was not enough.
South Central gained momentum in the second half, scoring 19 points to double their score and take over for good in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, C.B. Aycock managed just seven points that quarter and could not gain much back in the final eight minutes.
The Golden Falcons, at No. 51 in the adjusted MaxPreps.com 3-A rankings as of late Wednesday night, will await the seeding for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs on Sunday.
SOUTH CENTRAL (52)
Statistics not available.
C.B. AYCOCK (42)
Peronzini 2, Reid 7, Moore 10, Walker 16, Williams 7.
Score by quarters:
South Central 5 14 19 14 — 52
C.B. Aycock 8 11 7 14 — 42