NCISAA playoffs - Charger boys advance
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 22, 2006 2:24 PM
Playing with a lead is often more difficult for high school basketball teams than dealing with a deficit.
In the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs, Wayne Country Day's boys, the No. 6 seed, struggled early with a sizable advantage -- allowing No. 11 Northeast Academy to erase a 16-0 deficit to get within four early in the second quarter.
But the Chargers recovered.
Keyed by improved second-half defense, especially defending the 3-point shot, Wayne Country Day never led by less than 13 after intermission and rolled to an 81-57 win over the Eagles.
The victory sends the Chargers (19-10) into a quarterfinal matchup against the winner of No. 3 Gaston Day (21-9) and No. 14 High Point Christian (14-14) on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Wesleyan Academy in High Point. WCDS fell to Gaston Day, 62-43, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs last year.
The Eagles, of the Carolina Academies Conference, concluded the season at 16-10 overall.
After seeing Northeast make six from behind the arc in the first half, including three by Drew Pinnix, the Chargers consistently contested the Eagles' shots in the second half. Often settling for jumpers against the quicker Chargers, the visitors from Northampton County hit just two-of-20 from 3-point range after intermission.
"We just wanted to get a hand up. We were up 16-0 and we had a tendency to relax," WCDS coach Chad Wiggins said. "We didn't know they were capable of shooting the ball like that, and then bam, you're only a few points up. Defensively, we didn't get after it very well early."
The quick shots, then rebounds by WCDS -- mixed with at least five turnovers per quarter by Northeast -- helped the home team steadily pull away in the second half behind balanced scoring.
Point guard Tavon Waters led the way for the Chargers, posting eight of his 18 points in the fourth as WCDS built a 20-point lead. Meanwhile, Phillip Weeks (14 points), Cameron Strickland (12 points) and Adam Wright (11 points) also reached double figures in a game that saw seven Chargers score at least six points.
"I like that," Wiggins said of the balance. "Tavon opened things up for a lot of guys tonight. Phillip and Cameron really shot the ball well."
In the first quarter, WCDS practically scored at-will in a variety of ways and jumped out to a 16-0 lead at the 2:30 mark after a put-back by Waters. Franklin had five of his seven points during the run, including a 3-pointer, while Weeks also chipped in five points. But, Northeast's Ryan Davis and Pinnix countered with two, 3-pointers each before the end of the quarter -- helping their team close the gap to 20-14 heading into the second.
A drive-and-score by Pinnix got the Eagles as close as they would get at 20-16 early in the second quarter and still only trailed by five with 2:30 left, before the Chargers stepped up their defensive intensity to take a 39-29 lead into halftime.
WCDS canned four, 3-pointers in the third, including two by Weeks, while Northeast cooled down considerable from the outside and only managed to trade twos-for-threes with the home team through the third. Both teams got plenty of work from their respective benches down the stretch as the Chargers steadily pulled away.
"They jumped on us big, but we got ourselves back in position with the three-ball," Eagles' coach John Brown said. "In the second half, we were a little bit tired because we had to exert too much energy coming back. We forced a few shots from too deep as well."
Waters, Weeks and Wright, all seniors, played in their final home game at WCDS.
N.C. Independent Schools
Boys 1-A Playoffs
NE Academy 14 15 18 10 -- 57
WCDS 20 19 22 20 -- 81
No. 11 NORTHEAST ACADEMY (16-10)
Drew Pinnix 4 4 0-0 20, Brian McLean 6 0 3-5 16, Bobby Duke 2 1 0-0 7, Ryan Davis 0 2 0-0 6, John Pope 1 1 0-0 5, Josh Jenkins 0 0 2-2 2, No. 44 1 0 0-0 2, Barry Barrett 0 0 0-2 0. TOTALS -- 14 8 5-9 57.
No. 6 WAYNE COUNTRY DAY (19-10)
Tavon Waters 7 0 4-5 18, Phillip Weeks 3 2 2-4 14, Cameron Strickland 3 2 0-0 12, Adam Wright 4 1 0-0 11, Jeff Franklin 1 1 2-2 7, Lamar Carpenter 3 0 0-0 6, Kameron Byrd 3 0 0-2 6, Shadoe Stewart 2 0 0-1 4, Kyle Pender 0 0 2-2 2, David Wilson 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 26 6 11-18 81.
3-point goals -- NA 8 (Pinnix 4, Davis 2, Pope, Duke), WCDS 6 (Weeks 2, Strickland 2, Wright, Franklin). Turnovers -- NA 23, WCDS 11. Total fouls -- NA 17, WCDS 11. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.
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