ECC 3-A men's final: No. 1-ranked Kinston turns back Saints
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on February 18, 2007 2:14 AM
WILSON -- Kinston's Akeem Sutton leaped over a Southern Wayne defender, caught a pass in mid-air, slammed it down and brought the Viking fans and their players to their feet.
It was that type of night on Friday -- full of aerial acrobatics -- as Kinston played up to its NCPreps.com No. 1 ranking.
The Vikings captured the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament title with an 89-71 victory over Southern Wayne at Beddingfield High School.
"Everyone got their money's worth tonight," said Kinston head coach Wells Gulledge.
Southern Wayne coach Russell Royal knew knocking off the Vikes would be a stiff challenge as he faced the team that annihilated his Saints by 62 points just two weeks ago.
On this night, the Saints played much better, but saw their surprising tournament run come up short.
"Definitely better (than last time), and that lets me know they listen to me," Royal said. "We're a young team with heart and desire and I know they've got the talent. I'm always proud of them whether it's a win or a loss."
Kinston used a tenacious defense to force seven first-quarter Saint turnovers to go up 26-10 heading into the second.
Southern Wayne fell behind even further as the Vikings went on a 17-6 run to open the quarter, as they went up 47-24 after a one-handed tomahawk jam by Bo Ingram.
In the third quarter, Kinston fans began envisioning another 100-point game as they went up 77-44 with some highlight reel dunks.
"Our kids played with a lot of emotion and had a good time tonight," said Gulledge.
Southern Wayne wasn't about to pack it in, however, as the Saints came out one fire in the fourth quarter.
Baskets from Orlando Davis, Kendrick Thompson and a 3-pointer from Jon Hart cut the lead to 22. Later in the quarter, Anthony Vick -- who has shown plenty of ability to drill the outside shot this season, capped a 9-1 run by hitting his third 3-point bomb of the second half to cut the lead to 87-69.
"Southern Wayne did a phenomenal job of staying in the game," said Gulledge. "They never quit. They kept hitting shots."
The performance of the Saints in the second half and especially during the fourth quarter, delighted their coach.
"They easily could have let up," said Royal. "They could've given up at halftime and we could have had the same result (as the 62 point loss). They never gave up and I'm proud of each and every one of them."
The Saints placed four players in double-figures led by Josh Darden and Davis who both tallied 14 points. Vick added 13 points and Thompson chipped in with 10.
Southern Wayne will now take on D.H. Conley in Greenville in the first round the 3-A State Playoffs on Monday night.
"It was great being here," said Royal. "We've got one more and we have to just try to keep on this ride and see how far it will take us by sticking together."
Southern Wayne 10 18 20 23 -- 71
Kinston 26 27 24 12 -- 89
SOUTHERN WAYNE (12-13)
Orlando Davis 7 0 0-2 14, Josh Darden 7 0 0-0 14, Anthony Vick 2 3 0-0 13, Kendrick Thompson 5 0 0-0 10, Paris Armwood 1 1 2-2 7, Jon Hart 1 1 2-2 7, Dequan Cozart 2 0 0-0 4, Rashaad Hill 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 26 5 4-6 71.
Curtis Hines 4 4 0-0 20, Bo Ingram 5 0 2-2 12, Miguel Starkey 3 1 2-4 11, Quinton Coples 4 0 2-2 10, Antonio Whitfield 0 2 4-4 10, Marcus Hemby 3 0 3-5 9, Tremaine Miller 2 0 1-1 5, Akeem Sutton 2 0 0-0 4, Wesley Coward 1 0 0-2 2, Andre Edmondson 1 0 0-0 2, Reggie Bullock 1 0 0-0 2, D'Marcus Quinerly 1 0 0-1 2. TOTALS -- 27 7 14-21 89.
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