By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on February 13, 2004 2:01 PM
KINSTON -- Perfection.
It's something many teams strive for, but very few attain.
But it's something the Kinston boys' basketball team achieved in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference after Thursday's 71-52 Senior Night win at home against Eastern Wayne in the regular season finale for both squads.
Eastern Wayne's girls will hold the fourth seed for the tournament despite falling 54-48 to the Lady Vikings.
The win improved the Vikings -- No. 1 in the northcarol-ina.i-high.com coaches and media 3A poll -- to 22-1 overall and an unblemished 16-0 in the ECC.
"To go 16-0 in this conference, I couldn't be happier for a group of six young men who have grown up together and wear their heart on the outside of their shirts each and every day at practice," said Kinston coach Wells Gulledge. "I'm just so proud of them."
Near-perfect shooting in the second half helped Kinston overcome a 30-29 halftime deficit. The Vikings shot an astronomical 76.2 percent (16-of-21) from the field in the final 16 minutes, including 80 percent (4-of-5) from the 3-point line and 85.7 percent (6-of-7) from the free throw line.
After Eastern Wayne's Chris Campbell pushed the halftime lead to 34-31 with a layup only 19 seconds into the second half, the Vikings ripped off a 10-2 run, thanks to 3-pointers from Mike Jenkins and Darryl Jones and layups from J'Mell Walters and Jay McBynum. A Justin Richardson basket temporarily stopped the Vikings, but Kinston outscored the Warriors (14-7, 12-4) 13-4 the rest of the period to lead after three quarters, 52-40.
The Vikings were led in scoring by Darryl Jones (16 points), Montel Jones (15) and Jenkins (10). Campbell led the way for Eastern Wayne with 15 points, while Richardson added 12.
Kinston hosts the winner of tonight's Goldsboro-C.B. Aycock play-in game in the first round of the ECC Tournament on Tuesday. Eastern Wayne plays South Central or Washington on Tuesday, but Warriors coach Marvin Bowman already had his eyes set on a possible rematch with Kinston.
If both teams keep winning, they would meet Feb. 21 at Kinston.
"I wouldn't like anything any better than to have that opportunity," Bowman said. "(Kinston) has dodged bullets several times this season, but they're a good team and hopefully, we'll have another chance at them."
Eastern Wayne's girls used an 18-point third period to change a 24-18 halftime lead into a 36-34 lead going into the final period of play. But Kinston put up 18 points of its own to seal the victory.
"We put a triangle and two on (Shoshonna) Moore to keep her from scoring," said Eastern Wayne coach Brent Holland. "(Shamir) Freeman stepped up and got some big shots late. Moore found the open people and they complimented her well.
"We missed a couple of defensive stops in the fourth quarter, and that was the game."
Freeman had 12 points and Moore and 10 to pace the Lady Vikings, who will take on South Central on Monday in the opening round of the ECC tournament. Eastern Wayne was paced by 17 points from center Jessy Perkins, who shot nine-of-10 form the free-throw line.
"They played a zone and collapsed on her in the first half, and she only had four points," Holland said. "In the second half, they went man and that gave her a chance to be effective when we got her the ball."
The Lady Warriors open tournament play Monday at home against West Craven.
Eastern Wayne 14 16 10 12 -- 52
Kinston 17 12 23 19 -- 71
EASTERN WAYNE (14-7, 12-4)
Justin Richardson 12, Adrian Kendrick 8, Nate Walker 2, Derrick Joyner 7, Chris Campbell 15, Jamel Virgil 2, Trey Nelson 6.
KINSTON (22-1, 16-0)
Michael Small 4, Walt Taylor 2, Montel Jones 15, Jarius Harris 7, Darryl Jones 16, Keyon Marshall 3, Mike Jenkins 10, Jerell Walters 7, Jay McBynum 7.
Eastern Wayne 10 8 18 12 -- 48
Kinston 14 10 10 20 -- 54
EASTERN WAYNE (10-11, 9-7)
Yasmine Washington 4, NaNiece Sims 2, Nicole Greene 9, Sierra King 7, Jazzmine Lee 9, Jessy Perkins 17.
KINSTON (14-8, 13-3)
Krystal Suggs 2, Courtney Smith 2, Felicia Dunn 2, Whitney Bryant 4, Kelly Bradshaw 4, Gabrielle Taylor 6, ShaShonna Moore 10, Shamir Freeman 12.
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