SW boys slip in final four minutes
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 2, 2004 1:57 PM
SHALLOTTE -- Southern Wayne played uncharacteristic of a team on six-game win streak in the fourth quarter Monday evening at West Bruns-wick. The Saints had control of the contest and the tempo in their favor, but they couldn't keep their seven-point lead.
"We had them right where we wanted them," Southern Wayne coach Michael Olliver said.
But the Saints' impatience on offense and the Trojans' best athlete -- Chris Bland -- proved to be the decisive factor in the final four minutes of play.
Bland had 14 of his game-high 26 points in the final period as West Brunswick rallied past the Saints 55-50 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A sectional No. 2 championship.
The Trojans (15-12) face Greensboro Dudley in the eastern regionals today at East Carolina University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Southern Wayne trailed 33-28 when West's Tristan Johnson buried his second 3-pointer of the game. Olliver's team kept its poise and patience on offense. Derrick Garris' free throw and Akeem Royal's old-fashioned three-point play tied the game at 33-33 with 2:42 remaining.
Garris added the next three points to give the Saints a lead 36-33 after three periods.
Justin Monroe and Artimus Quick didn't play intimidated underneath against West's Cedric Simmons, a 6-foot-9 center who has signed with N.C. State. The duo effectively used their drop-step move to get Simmons out of position and each collected a key offensive putback as Southern Wayne boosted its advantage to 40-33.
Then those uncharacterstic mistakes surfaced.
"We spread it out, get everything we want and take some bad shots," Olliver said. "I called timeout, told them to run some clock because we've got control of the game. We went right in and got two shots blocked in a row."
That changed the momentum. West Brunswick scored the next eight points for a 41-40 lead.
Quick, who didn't play intimidated against Simmons, picked up a questionable fourth foul with 4:08 to go. A few seconds later, Garris took Ray Bland off the dribble and swished a 14-footer to give the Saints their final lead, 42-41, as the clock ticked under four minutes.
Quick's offensive putback and Garris' off-balanced jumper near the free throw line kept the Saints within one point on two occasions.
The Trojans kept the ball in Bland's hands, who shot a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line in the final quarter. Bland ended the night with a 14-of-14 effort at the line to go along with six field goals and 14 rebounds. Simmons contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.
"(Bland) was very instrumental in winning the ball game," Olliver said. "He does so many things. He handles the ball, rebounds, scores around the basket real well. I think we put a lid on Simmons and Artimus really did a great job of attacking him."
Quick led the Saints with a double-double -- 16 points, 14 rebounds. Garris contributed 13 points, seven assists and two rebounds. Akeem Royal chipped in with 13 points, including a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers.
"We played a very good ball game," Olliver said. "We played hard, did everything we needed to do. When we had a chance to put them away, we let them back in the game."
The Trojans' victory denied the Saints' bid to return to the regionals for the first time since 1982. West Brunswick is making its first-ever regional appearance and its deepest playoff run since 1975 when it defeated Ayden-Grifton for the 3-A title.
2004 N.C. High School
Sectional No. 2 championship
(at West Brunswick HS)
So. Wayne 14 8 14 14 -- 50
W. Brunswick 13 12 8 22 -- 55
SOUTHERN WAYNE (16-12)
Austin Hood 2 0 0-1 4, Akeem Royal 3 2 1-1 13, Jacobe Graham 1 0 0-0 2, Ted Benton 0 0 0-0 0, Justin Monroe 1 0 0-0 2, Artimus Quick 7 0 2-2 16, Derrick Garris 6 0 1-2 13. TOTALS -- 20 2 4-6 50.
WEST BRUNSWICK (15-12)
Chris Bland 6 0 14-14 26, Ray Bland 1 0 0-1 2, Jerek Hewitt 1 0 0-0 2, Tristan Johnson 1 2 0-0 8, Trenton Burney 0 0 0-0 0, Bradley Griffin 0 0 1-2 1, Cedric Simmon 5 0 6-11 16. TOTALS -- 14 2 21-28 55.
Three-point baskets -- So. Wayne 2 (Royal 2), W. Brunswick 2 (Johnson). Turnovers -- So. Wayne 7, W. Brunswick 9. Total fouls -- So. Wayne 18, W. Brunswick 10. Fouled out -- Monroe. Technicals -- none.
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