01/26/07 — Second-half conference play begins for area hoops teams tonight

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Second-half conference play begins for area hoops teams tonight

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 26, 2007 2:07 PM

A county rivalry highlights tonight's slate of high school basketball games in the News-Argus coverage area, and tips off second-half play in conference action.

Eastern Wayne is the guest of Southern Wayne on the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference scene. The Saints pulled out a two-point victory on the boys' side in their previous meeting. The Warrior girls look to rebound from a humbling loss on Tuesday and complete the regular-season sweep of their arch adversary.

Charles B. Aycock travels to Wilson Beddingfield. Less than three weeks ago, the Golden Falcon boys played the Bruins to a six-point game in Pikeville. The varsity girls meet the defending N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A champions, who have won 15 consecutive regular-season games against ECC opposition.

The Goldsboro High boys, who seized a road win Tuesday, entertain Tarboro and seek to avenge the first of three losses in first-half conference play. In their previous encounter, the Cougars yielded 30 fourth-quarter points to the Vikings, who got a 32-point effort from East Carolina signee Jontae Sherrod in a 75-67 win.

Sixth-year GHS head coach Randy Jordan hopes his team can duplicate its intense effort from Tuesday and even its EPC slate at 3-3.

"If we play with that intensity, we'll be in every ball game and in the hunt when it comes to the last week of play in this conference," said Jordan. "It's been a topsy-turvy league."

Goldsboro's girls presented first-year head coach Brandy Smith with her first-ever EPC win on Tuesday at North Pitt. Smith said the team played with confidence and hasn't forgotten a fourth-quarter collapse at Tarboro. The Vikings claimed a come-from-behind 45-40 victory.

Greene Central's boys can move one step closer to their second EPC regular-season crown in the last three seasons. The Rams (13-5 overall) hold a two-game lead over the rest of the six-team league, and play host to North Pitt. The Panthers have the task of containing Chevalier Howell, who has averaged 29 points in his last three outings.

North Lenoir's girls pulled out a double-overtime squeaker Tuesday against archrival Greene Central and have yet to experience defeat in EPC play this season. The Hawks take on Farmville Central, which erupted for 23 fourth-quarter points Tuesday in a win over Tarboro.

The Carolina 1-A Conference has a full slate of games -- North Johnston at North Duplin, Spring Creek at Princeton and Rosewood at Ayden-Grifton.

A moment of silence is expected tonight in Calypso to remember two Panther athletes who died in a head-on collision earlier in the week. North Johnston is 1-4 in league play and faces the Rebels, who ended a haunting 10-game losing streak Tuesday at Rosewood. The Panther girls put their 5-0 league record on the line against the Rebels, who have no seniors on their roster.

Princeton's boys tumbled from the unbeaten ranks in Carolina Conference play after a 20-point loss Tuesday at Ayden-Grifton. The Bulldogs (13-6 overall) look to rebound against the Gators, who haven't forgotten Ryan Daughtry's game-winning shot in the closing seconds at "The Swamp."

Both girls teams will attempt to end losing streaks in conference play. The Gators have lost four straight, while the Dawgs have endured three consecutive defeats.

Rosewood's girls look to keep pace with North Johnston. The Eagles (9-7 overall, 4-1 Carolina) meet the Chargers, who have prevailed in their last three Carolina outings. Rosewood edged Ayden-Grifton 27-20 in their previous encounter on Jan. 5.

"The last time offensively against Ayden-Grifton we did not play very well at all," said Rosewood head coach Debbie Bailey. "I hope that's not the case tonight. We're going to take it one game at a time."

The Eagle boys (3-13 overall) carry a 1-4 league worksheet into their game against the Chargers, who are unbeaten in five conference contests. Ayden-Grifton has been led by a trio of scorers all season, including EPC player-of-the-year candidate Tanner Carnes.

Wayne Country Day continues a murderous stretch of games on its varsity boys' schedule. The Chargers (7-10) look to snap a two-game skid against Kerr-Vance Academy, which is ranked among the state's top five 1-A teams in the latest N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association poll. WCDS' current losing streak includes losses against reigning NCISAA 1-A champion Greenfield and Trinity Christian-Fayetteville, the No. 1-ranked 1-A team.

Wayne Christian plays host to Johnston Christian and Faith Christian welcomes Hilltop Christian in non-conference play. The Conquerors (16-1) have reeled off 15 consecutive wins since mid-November.

In wrestling, Eastern Wayne plays host to the Warrior Quads which include J.H. Rose, Nash Central and Triton. It's the Warriors' final tune-up before next Tuesday's season-ending home match against county foe C.B. Aycock. The winner secures the No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begins Feb. 6.

Rosewood (27-7) travels to Clinton, while Spring Creek welcomes Princeton for non-conference action in Seven Springs. Aycock (21-1) takes on Wilson Fike at 7 p.m. in Pikeville.