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Moses Parker, a 6-foot-4 senior and an All-Big East Conference and Wilson Times All-Area performer last season, finally asserted his presence — as expected — in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Parker teamed with seniors Trevon Atkinson and Mason Lee, the other returning mainstays from last season to steer the host Fike High varsity boys basketball team to a 69-62 triumph against 3-A D.H. Conley of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night.
Parker tossed in 16 points and Atkinson netted 15 and the Golden Demons snapped a 54-54 tie and seized the lead for keeps on Lee’s 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.
“He showed up,” veteran head coach Brent Secrest commented of Parker’s nine-point outburst in the final quarter. “We were not working hard to get inside early and he’s also nursing a little bit of a shoulder injury.”
Parker contended he was not bothered by few touches and few looks in the early going.
“I just stay focused,” he said. “We weren’t together, but we got together and played as a team. I stepped up in the second half.
“It was a pretty good win, and we played good as a team toward the end of the game.”
The final margin matched the largest. A couple minutes earlier, Fike owned a 63-57 cushion on a bucket each from Parker and Atkinson.
“This is the smallest team that I’ve ever had — by far,” noted Conley head coach Rob Maloney. “I think we got winded down the stretch. Fike did a good job of attacking the basket, and that was a downfall on the part of our defense. They got some open shots and did a good job of capitalizing.”
Fike’s first lead came at 7-6 on Atkinson’s bucket off a steal. The Vikings retaliated with a 3-pointer from senior LaShawn Owens, a field goal from Taevon Parker and a 3-pointer from senior Kent Gilbert to seize their biggest lead of 14-7. The Demons shaved the deficit to 14-13 after one quarter.
The second quarter produced four lead changes and three ties, with the biggest advantage of 27-23 belonging to Conley on Gilbert’s 3-pointer. The Demons, behind 6-6 junior Khouri Carvey, 6-5 senior Lance Jones and sophomore guard Christian Battle rallied to a 29-29 halftime tie.
Fike then erased Conley’s five-point lead (51-46 on senior point guard Nate MacDonald’s layup)in the third quarter, ending the period tied 41-41 when Battle finished an assist from Atkinson.
With the score knotted 54-54 midway the final quarter, Lee drained his 3-point shot and Carvey was awarded two points on a goal-tending call. With Fike up 63-57, a pair of free throws from Atkinson sealed the season-opening victory.
“That was the turning point,” Secrest said of Lee’s long-distance shot. “That gave us a little momentum. The kids in the crowd got into it a little bit and that pumped the guys up.
“We played pretty good. We’re young and haven’t played much together, except in practice. We gave up more points than I would have liked, but I was pleased. Win or lose, I would have been pleased.”
Owens poured in a game-high 23 points for the Vikings. Gilbert and Parker each tallied 10 points.
Conley sank all 12 of its free throws, while Fike went 19 for 28.
The Demons challenge another 3-A member of the ECC when they visit Greenville Rose on Thursday night.
D.H. CONLEY (62)
Gilbert 10, MacDonald 4, Owens 23, Jospeh 7, Clemons 6, Banning, Williams, Kirkpatrick, Twiddy 2, Parker 10.
Battle 6, K. Atkinson 8, Lee 5, Jones 6, Waddell 2, Williams 2, Carvey 9, T. Atkinson 15, Parker 16.
Score by quarters:
D.H. Conley 14 15 18 15 — 62
Fike 13 16 18 22 — 69