02/11/05 — Eastern Wayne splits on Senior Night

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Eastern Wayne splits on Senior Night

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 11, 2005 2:04 PM

Someone needs to revamp the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference men's basketball regular-season schedule next season. Kinston has become a deadly spoiler on Senior Night celebrations with the latest occurring Thursday evening in New Hope.

J'Mell Walters turned in an 18-point scoring performance and led the Vikings to a 51-42 decision against the Warriors. The victory assured Kinston (15-8, 11-5 ECC) of the No. 3 seed for next week's ECC tournament.

Meanwhile, the Warriors had an opportunity to force a possible three-way tie for third place in the league. Already a playoff qualifier, Eastern Wayne (10-11, 9-7) could gain either the No. 4 or No. 5 seed for the conference tournament.

Eastern Wayne's women shot nearly 57 percent in the opening quarter, survived a near-disastrous second quarter and dealt Kinston a 50-39 loss. The Warriors (8-13) tied the Vikings for fifth in the ECC at 7-9, but the Vikings hold the tiebreaker for the playoffs.

Each team continues play next Tuesday in the conference tournament. Eastern Wayne faces third-seeded South Central at 6 p.m. at Charles B. Aycock. Kinston (9-13) drew the No. 5 seed and faces fourth-seeded West Carteret at Goldsboro High. Tip-off is also slated for 6 p.m.

The final tournament pairings were determined this morning in Kinston.

"We've had four Senior Nights that we've been to and we've been the spoiler at every party," said Kinston coach Wells Gulledge. "This was a big game tonight because we could have gone any where from two to five on four different scenarios.

"It's going to be an exciting conference tournament."

But it was an agonizing Senior Night loss for the Warriors.

Kinston's aggressive attitude in its 2-3 zone bothered Eastern Wayne all evening. Gulledge's team overplayed the passing lanes, kept center Chris Campbell from getting involved in the offense and forced the Warrior guards to take quick shots.

The result led to an early eight-point lead.

"It bothered us quite a bit," Warriors coach Marvin Bowman said of the zone defense. "They were aggressive with and we couldn't get in a rhythm. They knew where our shooters were and they were getting there (to defend the shot).

"They were very deliberate on the offensive end. It's just one of those games where if we make our shots, then we're in the ball game and we've got a shot at it (to win)."

Daravan Ingram's 3-pointer gave Kinston a 45-32 lead early in the final quarter. The Warriors chipped away with a 7-0 run, closing to within 45-39 with just under three minutes remaining.

After Ingram's long-distance shot, the Vikings endured a five-minute scoring drought. Eastern Wayne didn't fare much better, failing to convert on three consecutive possessions that could have turned game's momentum in its favor.

Walters, Ingram and Darryl Jones combined for four free throws in the final minute to secure Kinston's win.

"We miscued a couple of times offensively there late in the fourth quarter," Bowman said. "I have to give their defense credit, but I also think our guards should have worked harder to give him (Campbell) the ball because we weren't doing that good of a job outside."

Adrian Kendrick emerged the Warriors' lone double-figure scorer with 11 points. Justin Richardson, who missed every field-goal attempt in the first 16 minutes, contributed nine second-half points.

Eliminated from the postseason for the first time as a 3-A school, the Warrior women took control early against the Vikings. They scored the game's first 14 points and converted 9 of 16 field goals en route to a 23-6 lead.

"Oh man, we shot the lights out!" second-year Warriors coach Brent Holland said. "That's the best we shot all year. No team can sustain the kind of shooting, but LaShonda Berry gave us a big lift in the first quarter."

Berry and Natasha Wiley combined for 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the field. Wiley ended the evening with a game-high 17 points, while Berry was held scoreless after the opening quarter.

Kinston kept its composure and battled back in the second period.

Gabriell Taylor and Demicka McMahon each buried a 3-pointer. The Warriors shot a paltry 1 of 15 from the field and committed eight turnovers, which led to half of Kinston's 17-point output in the period.

Phylicia Dunn drained a jumper in the lane and pulled the Vikings within 27-25 early in the third period. Eastern Wayne answered with a monstrous 19-3 run that lasted well into the fourth quarter.

"We can't get into the playoffs unless we win the tournament, so tonight we were playing for pride," Holland said. "We're real glad to get us a win tonight on Senior Night."