01/31/07 — Not in our house: Eastern Wayne girls pummel Hunt

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Not in our house: Eastern Wayne girls pummel Hunt

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on January 31, 2007 2:16 PM

There hasn't been much of a homecourt advantage for the Eastern Wayne Lady Warriors this season.

A week ago, Eastern Wayne was stunned by Charles B. Aycock, losing by 19 points -- dropping their home mark to 3-5.

On Tuesday night, however, the Warriors welcomed Wilson Hunt into their gym and proceeded to take back their house.

Eastern Wayne blew open what was a six-point game in the third quarter with a back-breaking 23-0 run, to beat Hunt 60-43 in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference action.

"We talked before the game that this is our house and we haven't played very well in our house this year," said Eastern Wayne coach Brent Holland. "Aycock embarrassed us last Tuesday."

Holland isn't afraid to challenge the girls when he feels they're underperforming -- as they had against Aycock.

"Even before Aycock, I don't appreciate the girls sometimes," said Holland. "I don't pat them on the back like I should."

Eastern Wayne and Brittani Billups would respond to their coach's challenge with a performance that was far from "embarrassing."

After trailing 13-12 after the first quarter, Eastern Wayne closed the second with a 12-4 run -- with seven of those points coming from Billups -- to lead 29-21 at the break.

In the third quarter, Eastern Wayne started off slow as Hunt cut the lead to 29-23 with 6:36 to go in the quarter.

From that moment, Hunt would not score again until 6:19 remaining in the game while Eastern Wayne gave an effort that made their coach smile for a change.

Eastern Wayne's zone defense forced eight turnovers in the quarter and challenged every Hunt shot.

Eboni Reid came away with four of her six steals which led to eight points for Eastern Wayne in the period.

"Eboni doesn't know her potential," said Holland. "I think she gets down on herself because we ride her pretty hard. I don't think she's moved her feet like that all year."

In the paint, Billups put on a personal clinic. She blocked shots, grabbed rebounds and scored almost at will against Hunt defenders.

"We let Brittani handle the post on the inside by herself," said Holland. "It's good when you've got one girl who can play man down low and spread the rest of the defense out. She's a terrific shot blocker down there."

Billups scored a game-high 23 points to go along with 15 rebounds and five blocks.

"Brittani was possessed tonight," said Holland. "When she's focused and stays out of foul trouble, she's tough to play against. She's as good as anyone in the eastern part of the state."

Billups scored eight of her points during an 18-0 run to close the third quarter. Eastern Wayne then opened the fourth with a layup from Yasmine Washington and a 3-pointer from Tiara McIntyre to build a 52-23 lead.

Washington finished with 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds while McIntyre added 11 points and three steals.

From there, Eastern Wayne (8-9, 5-2) once again enjoyed their home court.

"I thought the girls played their best 32 minutes of the year -- a real team effort," said Holland. "The girls weren't afraid tonight."

What began as a defensive struggle between the Eastern Wayne boys and Wilson Hunt ended with Hunt showing why they are ranked No. 5 in the NCPreps.com poll.

Hunt used an 11-0 run to take a third quarter lead it would never relingquish, as the visiting Warriors defeated Eastern Wayne 63-45.

"I thought we played a really good first half," said Eastern Wayne coach Marvin Bowman. "In the second half they got some momentum going. We got away from what we were doing right."

In what was a physical, defensive first half, Eastern Wayne seemed to gain the momentum when a steal by William White led to a slam at the other end by Darryl Cowan, giving Eastern Wayne a 20-19 lead with 42 seconds to play in the half.

What happened next perplexed Bowman.

Cowan received a technical foul for what the referee saw as "touching the ball when it was out of play."

"The (Hunt player's) arm was coming forward, but the ball hadn't left his hand yet and that's why they called it," said Bowman. "I didn't like the technical."

The two ensuing free throws Justin Dunn made for Hunt gave the Warriors a 21-20 lead -- and a swing in the momentum as they -- not Eastern Wayne -- would enter the locker room ahead.

The third quarter opened with Eastern Wayne taking a 24-23 lead on a basket from Jenieri Cyrus, but those would be the last points the homestanding Warriors would score for the next three minutes.

During that time, Hunt went on an 11-0 run to take a 34-24 lead.

Even when Eastern Wayne would force a missed shot, Hunt was around for a second-chance opportunity as the Warriors grabbed 15 offensive rebounds on the night.

"They're strong inside at every position and they box out well," said Bowman.

The lead would grow to 18 in the fourth quarter when Eastern Wayne made one final run.

Switching to a full-court press, Eastern Wayne forced four turnovers which led to 6-0 spurt to cut the lead to 50-38 with 4:10 to play.

Hunt would go back to their big man, Kason Cheeks, who scored seven straight points to push the lead back to 17 and end Eastern Wayne's attempt at a comeback.

"They're a really good team and they played a little harder defense in the second half," said Bowman.

"If we shot the ball better we'd been right in it. Of course every coach will say that, but we missed some crucial shots."

Darius Wilder and Cowan both led Eastern Wayne (5-12, 3-4) with nine points apiece. White scored seven and grabbed nine rebounds.

From here, Bowman believes his team's tough play against a ranked foe is going to prove useful in the future.

"We're going to try to get better and better and I think this will help our confidence down the stretch," he said.

Girls Game

Wilson Hunt 13 8 2 20 -- 43

Eastern Wayne 12 17 18 13 -- 60

WILSON HUNT (11-8, 4-3)

Chelsea Atkinson 7 0 3-4 17, Krystal Smith 3 1 0-0 9, Quilla Parker 3 0 1-2 7, Crystal Artis 3 0 0-0 6, Victoria White 1 0 0-0 2, Jessica McNair 1 0 0-0 2, Kiara Jones 0 0 0-2 0. TOTALS -- 18 1 4-8 43.

EASTERN WAYNE (8-9, 5-2)

Brittani Billups 10 0 3-4 23, Yasmine Washington 3 2 0-0 12, Tiara McIntyre 1 2 3-4 11, Eboni Reid 3 0 0-0 6, Noelle Kelly 1 0 0-0 2, Tia Jones 1 0 0-0 2, Jasmine Middleton 1 0 0-0 2, Sherrelle Burt 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 21 4 6-8 60.

Boys Game

Wilson Hunt 7 14 19 23 -- 63

Eastern Wayne 7 13 8 17 -- 45

WILSON HUNT (16-3, 6-1)

Kason Cheeks 6 0 2-5 14, Devrine Barnes 5 0 2-2 12, Justin Dunn 1 1 4-4 9, Alton Vinson 4 0 1-2 9, Jamel Joyner 3 0 0-0 6, David Hesmer 0 2 0-0 6, Bobby White 1 0 2-2 4, Jamil Creech 0 0 2-4 2, Jeremy Hill 0 0 1-2 1, Willie Harrison 0 0 0-2 0. TOTALS -- 20 3 14-23 63.

EASTERN WAYNE (5-12, 3-4)

Darryl Cowan 4 0 1-2 9, Darius Wilder 3 1 0-1 9, Lamar Davis 1 2 0-0 8, William White 3 0 1-2 7, Jenieri Cyrus 1 0 4-4 6, Darhan Cahill 2 0 0-0 4, Darren Bennett 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 15 3 6-9 45.