02/09/05 — E. Wayne improves playoff standing with win

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E. Wayne improves playoff standing with win

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 9, 2005 2:00 PM

The adage, "it's now how you start, it's how you finish," continues to apply to the Charles B. Aycock women and Eastern Wayne men's basketball teams.

The Warriors (10-10, 9-6 ECC) clinched at least a tie for fourth and a berth in the playoffs as senior guards Adrian Kendrick (26 points) and Justin Richardson (19 points) combined for 45 points in Eastern Wayne's 77-69 win over the Falcons.

After starting the season 1-6, the Lady Falcons clinched second place in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference with a 45-33 victory over Eastern Wayne.

Senior forward Lela Reid led Aycock with 15 points, including 12 combined in the second and third periods as the Falcons posted two solid runs. Midway through the second, the Falcons went on an 11-0 spurt, before taking a 20-16 lead into intermission.

The duo of guards combined for six 3-pointers -- all coming in the middle two periods. Kendrick torched the Falcons for 16 points in the third, mostly on open, pull-up jumpers.

"I had a bad first half because I was in foul trouble. They left me open for a few threes and I knocked them down," Kendrick said. "We weren't really gelling at the beginning of the season, but I think this is the best time for us to gel now going into the postseason."

The game often was an offensive showcase with the team's going back-and-forth -- along with the chants of the two school's raucous fan sections.

Chris Campbell added 14 points in the post for the Warriors, while Santavin Poole notched a team-best 23 for Aycock. Rob Phillips knocked down three, 3-pointers on his way to 13 points as teammate Brandon Hobbs chipped in 11.

The win was Eastern Wayne's fifth straight down the final stretch of the regular season. Coach Marvin Bowman is pleased with the late season progress of a team that started out of the gate sluggish at 0-4.

"Right now we are in a situation where we would like to win out," Bowman said. "At this point I want them to understand that we need to be playing our best basketball. I want them to stay humble and not let their heads get too big."

The Falcons (10-13, 6-9 ECC), who had an outside shot at one of the five conference playoff berths going into Tuesday, now must run the table in the conference tourney next week to qualify for the postseason.

"I don't think there is a tougher conference in North Carolina," Aycock coach David West said. "Just look at the records and how everyone is bunched up in the middle. Around this area, you can't go to a bad conference game. It's going to be a tough one every time."

Eastern Wayne's boys erased a five-point deficit early in the second period as Richardson capped a 12-0, Warrior run with a jumper to put his team up 29-22 with 2:30 left in the half.

Fueled by Kendrick and two, tough baskets down low by Campbell, Eastern Wayne continued its hot shooting in the third. The Warriors dropped in 15 points in the first four minutes of the period and eventually took a 59-50 lead into the fourth.

Aycock often kept pace with Eastern Wayne as the two teams combined for 52 points. Eight different Falcons scored in the third period.

Campbell got the fourth period started with a bang -- flushing a two-handed slam on an assist from Richardson. The Falcons closed an 11-point lead down to six at the five-minute mark, but were unable to get any closer in the middle stages.

The Warrior lead remained at six even later at 75-69, before a 3-point attempt by the Falcons missed that would have cut the deficit to three with just under one minute left. In a game where the teams combined to shoot 44 free throws, Eastern Wayne closed out the game at the line.

Aycock's women came out of the locker room even more determined on both ends-- dashing out to an 8-0 start to steadily put the game away in the second half. The win was Falcons' ninth in their last 10 outings.

"Everything is going together," Reid said. "Our post is one of our biggest keys. People are so concerned with Quaneisha (Milner) that it leaves us open."

Eastern Wayne (7-13 overall) dropped to 6-9 in the ECC -- one game behind Kinston for the fifth and final playoff spot. Quaneisha Milner finished with eight points for Aycock's women, while teammate Emily Stewart added seven. Yasmine Washington emerged as the only double-digit scorer for the Lady Warriors with 10.

"They beat us on every aspect of the game. I'm extremely disappointed that we didn't show up ready to play tonight," Eastern Wayne coach Brent Holland said. "Hopefully Thursday we can play for pride and win on Senior Night."

Lady Falcons coach Gary Hales has been pleased with the team's progression as they evolved into a new system without graduated post players Joyce Warrick and Cassandra Worrell.

"From where we started, to where we are now I am very pleased. I figured it would take 10 games to get us where we needed to be," Hales said. "I lost a few 6-footers and we would walk it down and try to get in the post last year. This year we have been a little more wide-open offensively with in-your-face pressure on defense."