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BEAUFORT -— A little home cooking for host East Carteret was on the menu for the Wilson Prep boys basketball team in the second round of the state 1-A playoffs Thursday night but the Mariners weren’t serving up any delicious seafood.
Instead it was the Tigers who got fried in the 78-73 loss, ending their first season in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Wilson Prep, the No. 19 seed out of 32 1-A East Region teams and No. 3 in the Tar Roanoke Conference, was whistled for 26 fouls to just 12 on No. 3 East Carteret, the top seed and co-champion with Pender County of the 1-A/2-A Coastal 8 Conference.
“(A) tough way to go out but it was a heck of a run!” Said WPA head coach Anthony Atkinson Jr., whose team finished 18-8 in his first season. “We could never get into a real flow tonight because of so many calls and it hurt us. Seems like every time we would get something going a whistle would blow and break momentum.”
Three Tigers fouled out as East Carteret pulled away from a 51-51 deadlock after three quarters.
The Mariners, who will host No. 6 Henderson Collegiate in the third round Saturday, were led by Bennie Brooks with a game-high 36 points, with 17 coming at the foul line.
Brooks’ big night offset a 26-point effort by Tigers 6-foot-9 junior Eric Wynn, who was complemented by 18 points from Adrian Land and 10 points from Omarreyon Johnson.
It was the final game for the Tigers’ two seniors, Jaquay Johnson and Dashaun Williams, but the team’s nucleus is expected to return for the second year under Atkinson, the former Barton College and Harlem Globetrotters star.
“I am super proud of my guys,” he said. “We showed heart all year and we will get better from this.”
WILSON PREP (73)
Blackston 9, Land 18, O. Johnson 10, Farmer 2, Wynn 26, Bullock 6, Taft 2.
EAST CARTERET (78)
Hyman 13, Trust 9, Brooks 36, Rose 5, Austin 6, Weldon 6.
Score by quarters:
Wilson Prep 15 17 19 22 — 73
East Carteret 19 13 19 27 — 78