Warrior girls, Saints boys claim ECC 3-A openers
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on January 7, 2007 2:11 AM
The constant clang being heard from the Eastern Wayne gym wasn't any kind of construction going on -- it was free throws bouncing off the rim.
The Southern Wayne Lady Saints shot an abysmal 4 of 20 from the foul line as they fell to Eastern Wayne 41-39 Friday night in both teams' Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener.
"We're struggling at the foul line right now," said Southern Wayne coach Chuck Crumpler.
Southern Wayne had its chances to win the game in the final minute as Lynnesha Leonard took over and drove to the basket, drawing fouls on three straight possessions.
Unfortunately for Leonard and the Saints, the foul line was unkind as she missed five of her six attempts -- including her last four.
Eastern Wayne also had its struggles from the line, but were at least able to connect on 50 percent (11 of 22) of its shots.
Like the Saints, the Warriors made just one of their last six shots from the charity stripe.
"It wasn't pretty at all, but I'd rather win ugly then lose pretty," said Eastern Wayne coach Brent Holland.
Yasmine Washington led Eastern Wayne with a double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 15 rebounds.
"Yasmine is so unselfish," said Holland. "I'll yell and fuss at Yasmine throughout the game, but when I go back and look at the film she does things so good. I want her to be more aggressive, more selfish, but when she's not scoring she does the other little things that I maybe don't appreciate during the game."
Brittani Billups, who was hampered by foul trouble and played just 2:27 in the first half, added nine points with eight rebounds for the Lady Warriors, who improved to 4-7 overall and 1-0 in ECC play with the victory.
Southern Wayne (7-6, 0-1) got a game-high 19 points from Leonard, who also had eight rebounds and six steals.
"(Lynnesha) did a great job," said Crumpler. "She's just a sophomore and one day, she's going to pull it all together."
With neither team shooting the ball well and turnovers common, Southern Wayne held a 21-17 lead at the end of the first half.
The Warriors were fortunate to not trail by more as Billups spent the majority of the first half as a spectator, saddled with two fouls.
"When Billups got the two fouls early on, that helped us out and gave us confidence," said Crumpler.
In the third quarter, Billups took over as she scored eight straight points to give Eastern Wayne its first lead of the game at 25-24.
The Saints went right back ahead following a jump shot and three-pointer by Shakoria Clark -- who finished with 13 points, including three treys.
Eastern Wayne's defense stepped up in the final quarter and shut down the paint for Southern Wayne.
"Our girls know where to go," said Holland, whose defense held the Saints to just two field goals in the quarter. "They take pride in their defense."
On the other end, Southern Wayne's defense frustrated Eastern Wayne and Billups.
"Our girls played the best defense tonight that they'd played all year long," said Crumpler.
Billups found herself double-teamed before she ever received a pass, and when she did catch it, she had no where to go against the Saint defense.
"Coach Crumpler had a very good defensive scheme to take (Brittani) out of the game," said Holland.
Without the scoring of Billups, the other members of the Warriors squad stepped up, especially Noelle Kelly.
Kelly began the year as a starter, but lineup changes moved her to the bench.
"Now that she's coming off the bench, Noelle doesn't pout or fuss -- she plays hard when she gets her chance," said Holland.
Kelly had her chance and took full advantage of the opportunity as she drilled a jump shot and drew a foul. The ensuing foul shot put Eastern Wayne ahead for good at 34-32 with 6:29 to play.
Eastern Wayne seemed to lock the game up when Billups came away with a steal and fed it to Eboni Reid for the layup to put the Warriors ahead by five with 56 seconds to play.
Leonard came right back with a three-point play of her own to cut the lead to 40-38 with 37 seconds to play.
The missed free throws though, doomed Southern Wayne.
"We start making more free throws -- even half our free throws -- we start staying ahead at the end of the game," said Crumpler. "We just have to learn to knock them down when we're tired."
Holland can sympathize with Crumpler's problem.
"We've been on the other end where missed free throws have cost us games too," he said. "The game would have been over with 10 seconds to go if we had hit our free throws."
In the boys game, it isn't often that the weather outside has an impact on the basketball being played inside, but that was the case as Southern Wayne held off Eastern Wayne 40-39 in the Eastern Carolina 3-A opener for both teams.
The abnormal temperatures caused the gym to become very warm and produced condensation on the floor -- causing multiple players from both teams to lose their footing throughout the game.
"It just got really slippery and made you play a little more cautious then you normally would have," said Southern Wayne coach Russell Royal.
The heat may have played a role in both team's poor shooting -- especially from the outside.
With both teams set inside with zone defenses, the two teams were forced outside with their shots and often came up short or well off the mark.
"Neither team shot the ball well," said Eastern Wayne coach Marvin Bowman. "I think the heat had a little to do with that tonight. You've got to have your legs."
The poor shooting caused just 56 combined points to be scored through three quarters, as Southern Wayne led 30-26.
Eastern Wayne -- as it had so often this season -- fought back and had a chance to win in the final minute.
A jumper in the lane from William White pulled the Warriors to within 40-39 with 31 seconds to play.
Following a miss by Anthony Vick on the front end of a one-and-one, Lamar Davis pulled up for a shot, but missed. The rebound came down to White who was tied up.
The possession arrow gave it to Eastern Wayne, which inbounded the ball to Darryl Cowan. With three seconds left, Cowman pulled up for a long three that bounced off the rim.
Orlando Davis pulled down the rebound and dribbled out the final seconds for Southern Wayne.
"At least we had that shot -- the opportunity to win at the end," said Bowman. "I would've loved to have seen (Darryl) go to the hole. He had time, but in the heat of the moment sometimes we don't always make the right decisions."
Vick led Southern Wayne (7-6, 1-0) with 11 points while Kendrick Thompson added 10 with nine rebounds. Davis also had a strong game on the glass as he grabbed 11 rebounds to go with nine points.
Eastern Wayne (2-9, 0-1) got 11 points from both Lamar Davis and Cowan.
Southern Wayne 8 13 11 7 -- 39
Eastern Wayne 6 11 10 14 -- 41
SOUTHERN WAYNE (7-6, 0-1)
Lynnesha Leonard 8 0 3-12 19, Shakoria Clark 2 3 0-2 13, Kiera Ingram 1 0 0-4 2, Brianna Lofton 1 0 0-0 2, Kayla Powell 1 0 0-0 2, Brooke Dove 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 13 3 4-20 39.
EASTERN WAYNE (4-7, 1-0)
Yasmine Washington 4 0 4-6 12, Brittani Billups 4 0 1-4 9, Noelle Kelly 2 0 3-3 7, Tia Jones 2 0 2-2 6, Tiara McIntyre 2 0 0-0 4, Eboni Reid 1 0 0-5 2, Zhanea Charles 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 15 0 11-22 41.
Southern Wayne 10 7 13 10 -- 40
Eastern Wayne 13 5 8 13 -- 39
SOUTHERN WAYNE (7-6, 0-1)
Anthony Vick 4 1 0-1 11, Kendrick Thompson 5 0 0-0 10, Orlando Davis 4 0 1-3 9, Paris Armwood 2 0 0-0 4, Jon Hart 1 0 2-2 4, Rashaad Hill 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 17 1 3-6 40.
EASTERN WAYNE (2-9, 0-1)
Lamar Davis 3 1 2-2 11, Darryl Cowan 4 1 0-0 11, Darren Bennett 4 0 1-2 9, William White 2 0 0-0 4, Jenieri Cyrus 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 15 2 3-4 39.
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