Wayne Country Day boys eliminated in CPIC semifinals
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 19, 2006 2:15 AM
In his first year on the sideline at Wayne Country Day, Chargers' boys coach Chad Wiggins has seen his team play its fair share of close games.
It didn't take long for Wiggins to realize the Chargers' battle against Rocky Mount Academy in the semifinals of the Classes 1-A/2-A Coastal Plains Independent Conference tournament on Friday was going to be another one of those battles.
The two conference foes, who finished with identical 7-3 records in CPIC play, battled back and forth from the opening tip before the Eagles created some separation early in the fourth quarter and held on for a 57-56 victory in the Chargers' gymnasium.
Rocky Mount Academy managed just six points in the fourth, but went ahead 55-47 early in the quarter on two-of-two at the stripe by Alex Holland. Wayne Country Day struggled from the field in the early going of the fourth, but eventually cut the deficit down to 57-54 with 3:30 left after a 3-pointer by Adam Wright, who finished with a game-high 24 points.
Wright got his team even closer at 57-56 with a jumper at the 1:20 mark as the Eagles missed a driving layup on their next possession and the Chargers' Jeff Franklin pulled down the rebound.
In a wild sequence around the WCDS basket, the Chargers missed several physically-contested shots before the ball went out of bounds off an Eagle with 3.4 seconds left. After Wiggins called a timeout to set up the final play, Wright's contested shot from the right corner fell short at the buzzer as RMA held on for the win.
"I think this is the sixth one-point game of the season that we had a chance to win. When six of your 10 losses are like that, it gets a little old," Wiggins said. "But, we had our looks and they didn't fall. I had a feeling this was going to be one of those games that came down to the wire."
The third-seeded Eagles took on regular-season champion Greenfield in the title game Saturday night at WCDS.
The Chargers will learn their seeding for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs today and will likely be home for a first-round contest next week.
"We have a team that on any given night can beat anybody. We can't feel like our season is over, because there is a bigger prize to be won," Wiggins said about his team's advancement to the state tournament.
The Chargers' Tavon Waters and Wright did most of their team's offensive damage in the first half as the duo combined for 24 of 31 points. Waters had 13 at the half, while Wright contributed 11.
Mike Schmitt, who pumped in a team-best 17 points, paced the Eagles before intermission with eight points as teammates Holland, Phil Stephens and Edmund Gravely had four points apiece.
The two teams continued to trade baskets in the third before Schmitt got hot late in the quarter. The forward scored seven straight points in the late stages of the third and boosted RMA to a 51-47 lead heading into the fourth.
"He (Schmitt) hit eight 3-pointers against us up at their place. When he gets loose, it's money," Wiggins said. "We gambled a couple of times for a steal, and you don't gamble on him. That swing late in the third quarter was a crucial blow for us."
In the fourth, the Eagles did a solid job of keeping the pace slower and led by as much as eight at 55-47 with six minutes left. Despite scoring just one more basket the rest of the way, the tempo of the game remained in Rocky Mount Academy's favor. Defensively, Schmitt and center Thomas Bardin did a solid job of limiting Wayne Country Day to one shot on the defensive end during most of the fourth.
"We really tried to slow down the tempo. We know they are athletic and get a lot of steals and get points in the transition game," Rocky Mount Academy coach Renny Taylor said. "On every offensive play, we wanted to slow it down, run something and set some screens. That's a lot easier said than done, but our guys did a good job and we had some great leadership."
Classes 1-A/2-A Coastal Plains
(at Wayne Country Day)
Rocky Mount Academy 14 16 21 6 -- 57
Wayne Country Day 15 16 16 9 -- 56
ROCKY MOUNT ACADEMY (24-4)
Mike Schmitt 6 1 2-2 17, Phil Stephens 5 0 0-1 10, Alex Holland 2 1 2-2 9, Thomas Bardin 3 0 0-1 6, Edmund Gravely 2 0 0-0 4, Garrette Bunch 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 19 2 4-6 57.
WAYNE COUNTRY DAY (18-10)
Adam Wright 9 1 3-5 24, Tavon Waters 6 1 0-0 15, Phillip Weeks 1 1 0-0 5, Jeff Franklin 1 1 0-0 5, Cameron Strickland 1 0 0-0 2, Kyle Pender 1 0 0-0 2, Lamar Carpenter 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 20 4 3-7 56.
3-point goals -- RMA 2 (Schmitt, Holland), WCDS 4 (Wright, Waters, Weeks, Franklin). Total fouls -- RMA 9, WCDS 10. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.
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