01/16/05 — EPC 2-A -- Greene Central upsets North Lenoir ... twice

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EPC 2-A -- Greene Central upsets North Lenoir ... twice

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 16, 2005 2:01 AM

SNOW HILL -- The Greene Central varsity men's basketball team plans to travel as far as the Waters will take it this season. So far it's turned into a promising and thrilling journey after two contests in Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play.

Teddie Waters buried five second-half 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 26 points overall as the league-leading Rams dealt archrival North Lenoir a 74-67 setback Friday evening.

"I know he wanted to play well against North Lenoir because he only lives three miles from the school," Greene Central coach Kevin Hart said. "He was up for the game, probably the best game he's had in the last five or six games."

Waters helped the Rams erase a 12-point deficit and seize a lead they'd never relinquish before a capacity crowd in their home gym. Trailing 31-30 midway through the third quarter, Waters swished a 3-pointer to start a 12-2 run.

The efficient outside shooting from Waters and Kenny Smith forced the Hawks to stretch their 2-3 zone defense and contest shots from the corners. Once they pulled out to put a hand in the shooter's face, that allowed Charles Gamble to get open underneath for either layups or into position for offensive rebounds.

North Lenoir had trouble collapsing and closing the passing lanes when the guards penetrated the zone.

Charles Gamble's old-fashioned 3-point play and two soft-touch jumpers by Smith pushed the advantage to 39-32 near the three-minute mark. Waters capped the surge with a 3-pointer from the left corner after the Hawks had burned a 30-second timeout to slow the momentum.

"The way that Teddie was shooting that thing was unbelievable," North Lenoir coach Paul Dunn III said. "I had to catch myself a couple of times because I was just like a fan more than an opponent there. I'm proud of the kid because he played an excellent game."

The Hawks (11-3, 0-2 EPC) trailed by nine after three quarters, but pulled within 45-41 early in the fourth. The Rams never buckled and Waters' four-point play helped his team claim its biggest lead at 66-53.

Waters added one more 3-pointer and Gamble provided 10 fourth-quarter points as Greene Central (12-4) improved to 2-0 in the EPC. Gamble ended up with 20 points, while Smith contributed 10.

"The shots he took, he made and he's been doing that all year," Hart said of Waters' efficiency. "He really led us tonight."

Justin Dunn paced the Hawks with 23 points. Omar Jones added 19, while Antwan Wiggins tallied 11.

"We outplayed them two quarters and they outplayed us two quarters," coach Dunn said. "The third quarter got a little out of hand. Hats off (to them). I told the guys that I'm not even mad at this loss."

An emotion-filled Greene Central girls' team bolted to a 13-point lead and never faltered in a 59-44 conquest of North Lenoir. They visited senior Peoria Wade, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury, in the hospital Thursday afternoon. They also learned that assistant coach Wayne Darden would be leaving the program to take another job.

The team dedicated the game to Wade and Darden, and left veteran coach B.J. Bass speechless of their performance against the co-defending EPC champions.

"We played with so much emotion tonight and kept our composure," a misty-eyed Bass said. "I'm proud of our entire team because they've worked hard this week in practice."

Greene Central fell behind 3-0, but forged ahead 13-5 after one quarter of play. The Rams gained their biggest advantage, 21-8, midway through the second period and silenced the Hawk faithful who made the short trip down Highway 258.

North Lenoir (14-2, 1-1) missed numerous shots underneath the basket and couldn't convert the turnovers out of its patented 1-2-1-1 full-court zone trap.

"That is about as sorry a first half that I have seen North Lenoir play in a long time since I've taken them back over," Hawks coach Wayne Floyd said. "We had no leader out there and didn't do anything right, except for maybe 30 seconds at the end (of the first half)."

The Hawks uncorked an 8-1 run to pull within 26-20 at halftime. They extended the spurt by scoring eight of the first 11 points in the third quarter. Catelyn Howard's baseline jumper closed the gap to 29-28 with about four minutes to go.

However, North Lenoir could never get that one key possession to take over control of the game. The Rams, particularly guard Teketia May and sophomore forward Briana Stanton, answered every run by sinking crucial shots.

Greene Central (8-8, 1-1) led 43-36 after three quarters. May, who emerged one of four Rams in double figures with 15 points, boosted the lead to 53-43 with two free throws at the 2:49 mark. Stanton poured in a game-high 18, while Diandra Tyson and Oriel Rodgers each had 11.

Carla Miller led the Hawks with 15.