Davis sparks Saints in ECC 3-A battle of county rivals
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on January 29, 2006 2:19 AM
One true sign of a good basketball team is the ability to answer an opponent when they pull within striking distance.
Southern Wayne's boys, ranked seventh in the Class 3-A ncpreps.com poll, did just that on Friday night at archrival Eastern Wayne's gymnasium.
The Warriors got within seven points of the Saints twice early in the fourth quarter and rarely trailed by double digits in the game, only to see Southern Wayne consistently counter with clutch baskets down the stretch on its way to an 85-77 win.
The Saints' win, coupled with Kinston's loss to Wilson Hunt, moves Southern Wayne (16-2 overall) into a first-place tie in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference with the Vikings, who won the first head-to-head meeting at home against the Saints. Both own identical, 5-1 marks and square off again next Friday in Dudley.
Eastern Wayne slipped to 8-11 overall and 1-5 in league play.
While the Southern Wayne boys completed a regular-season sweep of Eastern Wayne, the Lady Warriors bounced back from a conference loss earlier in the season to the Lady Saints -- turning in arguably their best defensive performance of the year in a 44-34 win.
Eastern Wayne's Yasmine Washington led all scorers with 22 points and made five-of-six at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to help put the game away late as the Warriors (3-15 overall) improved to 2-4 in ECC play.
"We had the right girl on the free throw line. We try to keep it in her hands," Eastern Wayne coach Brent Holland said of Washington. "She's scoring 16 points per game, but she's not selfish."
Southern Wayne (6-9, 2-4 ECC) didn't put anyone in double figures as it never got on track offensively. Shakoria Clark tallied nine points for the Saints, including a 3-pointer late in the third quarter that pulled Southern Wayne within one at 37-36.
That would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.
Southern Wayne's girls reached double digits in only one quarter, the third, and committed 34 turnovers as the Lady Warriors' 3-2 zone seemed to slow down the visitors. Eastern Wayne had 22 miscues, but the Saints rarely capitalized by turning them into points on the other end.
"I've got to find a way to stop the bleeding. I'm tired of going in at halftime and fussing everyone out," Southern Wayne coach Sally Combs said. "We've got to come out motivated and ready to play, but we haven't had that the last three games. Hopefully somebody will step up."
In the boys game, Saints center Antonio Davis came up especially big down the stretch -- scoring nine of his 14 points in the fourth with a seven-for-seven effort from the free-throw line.
After a 3-pointer by Eastern Wayne's Landon Downes, Davis turned in one of the biggest plays of the game near the two-minute mark of the fourth. Davis got fouled on a one-handed dunk, then completed the old-fashioned three-point play to push his teams margin to 81-70.
The Warriors, who outscored the Saints by four after intermission, never seemed to recover from there.
"I didn't think it would be a runaway in their gym. We're just happy to win," Southern Wayne boys coach Mike Connelley said. "Antonio played like he could play in the fourth. He needs to play well for us to be successful."
The timely baskets in the fourth were obviously key, but Southern Wayne built its lead in the second quarter. Keyed by four, 3-pointers by Akeem Royal, who posted a game-best 30 points, the Saints held a slim, 16-15 advantage after one.
In the second, Southern Wayne's Delawn Armwood scored the Saints first eight points and tallied 15 points in five minutes of action to boost his team to a 37-27 lead. Armwood had 18 of his 29 in the second and added 11 rebounds by the end of the contest.
Eastern Wayne weathered seven turnovers in the first quarter, but one more miscue before intermission led to a basket on the other end by Southern Wayne's Austin Hood as the Saints went up 53-45 at the break.
By the end of the half, the Saints hit nine from behind the arc and finished with 13 three's on the game with Royal making seven and Armwood nailing four. Eastern Wayne knocked down eight 3-pointers, with Lamar Davis hitting four on his way to a 16-point effort.
"When you shoot the ball as well as they do, you've got to make defensive stops. We didn't make those stops," Eastern Wayne coach Marvin Bowman said. "We didn't get the win, but give Southern Wayne credit. Our effort was there, but they just made big shots."
Unlike the first meeting in Dudley, the Warriors wouldn't go down without battling. After Royal picked up back-to-back offensive fouls -- giving him four fouls midway through the third -- Eastern Wayne climbed within six at 56-50 on a jumper by Landon Downes, who dropped in a team-best 18 points.
In a sign of what was to come in the final quarter, Davis had two late baskets in the final minute to increase the margin to nine at 60-51 by the end of the third.
Southern Wayne finished 20-of-25 (80 percent) at the line overall, and made a sizzling, 13-of-16 in the final period to help answer Eastern Wayne's balanced scoring. Seven Warriors made field goals in the fourth, led by Downes' nine points.
Freshman Reco McCarter provided a solid effort in the post for the Warriors, scoring 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Darryl Cowan added 13 points and four assists.
Hood scored six points, while dishing out seven assists and swiping five steals at point guard for the Saints.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday on the road. Eastern Wayne travels to Wilson Hunt, while Southern Wayne goes to Wilson Beddingfield.
Southern Wayne 5 8 13 8 -- 34
Eastern Wayne 10 12 8 14 -- 44
SOUTHERN WAYNE (6-9, 2-4)
Shakoria Clark 3 1 0-0 9, Lynnesha Leonard 2 0 4-8 8, Kiera Ingram 3 0 1-2 7, Ebony Darden 3 0 1-2 7, Zekia Jones 1 0 0-0 2, Christy Dixon 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 12 1 7-14 34.
EASTERN WAYNE (3-15, 2-4)
Yasmine Washington 5 1 9-12 22, Jasmine McLamb 4 0 1-2 9, LaNiece Sims 3 0 0-4 6, Noelle Kelly 1 0 2-2 4, Sherrelle Burt 1 0 0-2 2, Ebony Reid 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 14 1 13-24 44.
3-point goals -- SW 1 (Clark), EW 1 (Washington). Turnovers -- SW 33, EW 22. Total fouls -- SW 18, EW 15. Fouled out -- Darden (SW), Grantham (SW). Technical fouls -- none.
Southern Wayne 16 29 15 25 -- 85
Eastern Wayne 15 18 18 26 -- 77
SOUTHERN WAYNE (16-2, 5-1)
Akeem Royal 2 7 5-6 30, Delawn Armwood 5 4 5-6 29, Antonio Davis 3 0 8-9 14, Austin Hood 2 0 2-4 6, Derek Garris 0 1 0-0 3, Justin Bellamy 0 1 0-0 3. TOTALS -- 13 13 20-25 85
EASTERN WAYNE (8-11, 1-5)
Landon Downes 5 2 2-2 18, Lamar Davis 2 4 0-0 16, Reco McCarter 6 0 3-4 15, Darryl Cowan 5 0 3-3 13, D'Adrian Worrell 2 1 0-0 7, Floronta Wynn 0 1 1-2 4, Monty Best 1 0 0-0 2, Orlando Midgette 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 22 8 9-13 77.
3-point goals -- SW 12 (Royal 7, Armwood 4, Garris, Bellamy), EW 8 (Davis 4, Downes 2, Worrell, Wynn). Turnovers -- SW 12, EW 19. Total fouls -- 13, EW 18. Fouled out -- McCarter (EW), Worrell (EW). Technical fouls -- none.
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