SW girls drop Kinston
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 15, 2006 2:23 AM
KINSTON -- Injury-riddled and youth-ladened Southern Wayne is turning heads during first-half play on the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference girls' basketball scene.
Coaches picked the Saints to reside near the league basement since they returned one senior, and had seven freshmen and sophomores combined on their 11-player roster. But somebody forgot to tell them they weren't supposed to challenge for one of the league's three automatic postseason berths.
Freshman Lynnesha Leonard and junior Ebony Darden each posted a double-double in Southern Wayne's 68-62 victory Friday evening over Kinston. The Saints (5-6) collected their fourth road win of the season and exited 2-1 against ECC competition.
Injuries of varying degrees have depleted the roster and left second-year Southern Wayne coach Sally Combs with just three substitutes on the bench. All eight players saw considerable action against the Vikings, who dropped to 4-10 overall and remained winless in three conference contests.
"I've got freshmen out there who have never played this game with this intensity, let alone throwing all these different sets and defenses at them," said Combs, whose team survived a 27-turnover outing. "I think they're doing great so far."
Southern Wayne dominated the opening quarter and led 25-12 early in the second period.
Kinston, known for its harrassing man-to-man press, turned momentum in its favor by creating turnovers against the inexperienced Saints. Combs' squad failed to drop back and defend in transition, and missed a couple of open-court baskets when it forced a turnover.
The Vikings eventually tied the game at 28-28 and took their first lead at 30-28. The Saints answered with a 7-0 run and led 35-30 at halftime.
"I was really pleased at how we came out to start the game, but very disappointed with the way they played that last four minutes of the second quarter," said Combs. "We didn't play defense like we can and that is something we really have to work on in practice."
Southern Wayne maintained a two-possession advantage before Kinston forced a 41-41 tie with 2:44 left in the third. The Saints answered on a Leonard 3-pointer, and a field goal each from Darden and sophomore guard Shakoria Clark.
Kinston, which shared the ECC regular-season title with Goldsboro in 2003, continued to force turnovers out of its man-to-man, fullcourt scheme. The Vikings pulled within 52-51 on Cierra Parker's layup in the fourth. Parker drew a foul on the play, but missed the free throw.
"We weren't executing our press breaker," said Combs. "That, again, is something we have to work on. Every day is a learning process ... a new lesson."
The Vikings kept the game close, but the Saints converted their free throws down the stretch.
Leonard tallied 10 of her game-high 22 points in the final quarter and missed tying her career high (23) set last week against Wallace-Rose Hill. Leonard pulled down 14 rebounds and dished out six assists. Darden collected six of her 17 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Demicka McMahan emerged Kinston's top scorer with 19 points. Courtney Smith, Shaquala Rhodes and Adrienne Lewis each provided nine points.
"Both teams played extremely hard," said Combs. "We're lucky to escape."
So. Wayne 21 14 12 21 -- 68
Kinston 8 22 14 18 -- 62
SOUTHERN WAYNE (5-6, 2-1)
Kierra Ingram 0 0 3-6 3, Shakoria Clark 3 2 2-2 14, Ebony Darden 7 0 3-6 17, Christy Dixon 3 0 0-0 6, Cassandra Jones 0 1 0-1 3, Lynn Grantham 1 0 1-2 3, Lynnesha Leonard 3 2 10-19 22, Clarice Sherard 0 0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 17 5 19-36 68.
KINSTON (4-10, 0-3)
Sherita Gooding 0 0 1-4 1, Cierra Parker 0 0 2-5 2, Troyshika Shaw 0 0 0-0 0, Crystal Roache 1 1 0-0 5, Maci Raney 0 0 0-0 0, Courtney Smith 3 0 3-4 9, Phylicia Dunn 1 0 4-4 6, Shaquala Rhodes 4 0 1-5 9, Adrienne Lewis 2 1 2-3 9, Demicka McMahan 6 2 1-4 19. TOTALS -- 18 4 14-29 62.
3-point goals -- So. Wayne 5 (Leonard 2, Clark 2, Jones), Kinston 4 (McMahan 2, Lewis, C. Roache). Turnovers -- So. Wayne 27, Kinston 19. Total fouls -- So. Wayne 20, Kinston 23. Fouled out -- Ingram, Lewis. Technical fouls -- none.
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