ECC 3-A -- Saints defeat Kinston on road
Published in Sports on January 16, 2005 2:02 AM
KINSTON -- Kinston High School men's coach Wells Gulledge knew Southern Wayne's Akeem Royal was a great player before Friday's game at Viking Gym.
Royal proved Gulledge correct by scoring 19 of his game-high 22 points in the first half to lead the Eastern Carolina 3-A-leading Saints past Kinston 70-60.
"We had him starred on the board yesterday as the best player on their team," Gulledge said of Royal. "We left him (open) and he drilled us for 19 points in the first half."
Royal, a junior on a team which doesn't have any significant senior contributors, was simply unstoppable in the first half. He hit five 3-pointers for the Saints (10-6, 8-1 ECC) in the opening 16 minutes, including two off-balance and one with a Kinston player draped on him.
To Royal, the game plan against Kinston was simple.
"They just gave me the ball and I shot it," Royal said. "When you're on, you're on."
Southern Wayne coach Mike Connelley was impressed with his star's effort.
"Akeem has not been playing as well as I think and he thinks he is capable of lately," Connelley said. "He had a nice game today, though, and I hope he continues it."
The teams had three ties and exchanged the lead five times before a Royal 3-pointer with 3:42 remaining in the first half gave the Saints a 24-22 lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Saints led by 10 at halftime, and the lead eventually grew to as much as 17 at 66-49 before Kinston made the final score more respectable with a late run.
"The bottom line is that we got beat tonight," Gulledge said. "We got beat off the dribble and with penetration. Southern Wayne has a team of very good shooters and we helped their cause by overplaying their quick guards.
"Southern Wayne is a great ballclub. They wouldn't be at the top of this league if they weren't a very well-coached and very talented team."
The win was the first for Southern Wayne at Kinston in recent memory.
"I was told no one could remember the last time Southern Wayne won here," said Connelley, who is in his first year coaching the Saints (Marker). "I really thought it would be closer, though."
Royal said, "Anytime you get a win in here, it's big."
One positive for Gulledge's team was the play of freshman Donovan "Bo" Ingram. The 6-foot 4-inch post player debuted for the varsity with 14 points. He was brought up from the JV Wednesday by Gulledge.
"For his first varsity game, we were very pleased with what we saw," Gulledge said of Ingram. "As a 14-year-old, his performance was very satisfactory."
Senior guard Darryl Jones also had 14 points for Kinston (8-7, 4-4), which next plays at West Carteret on Tuesday.
"Our effort was there," Gulledge said. "But our effort wasn't good enough against Southern Wayne's effort."
The Viking girls (8-6, 6-2) shut out the Saints (3-10, 2-7) in the extra period to pick up the 43-34 win.
Krystal Suggs led Kinston with 14 points, while Gabriell Taylor added 10 for the Vikings. Lynn Grantham's nine points led Southern Wayne.
By BRYAN C. HANKS
Kinston Free Press
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