01/23/08 — Talented Kinston too much for Saints

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Talented Kinston too much for Saints

Published in Sports on January 23, 2008 4:12 PM

KINSTON -- Southern Wayne coach Russell Stephens had just witnessed his team lose 82-62 to Kinston, but he wasn't upset with his team.

In fact, the first-year Saints coach was proud of his team's effort -- one that included Southern Wayne out-rebounding the fifth-ranked Class 3-A team in the state.

"We were on the boards tonight," Stephens said of the Eastern Carolina Conference contest. "I told our kids that no matter what happens tonight, I wanted us to play hard and to continue to run our stuff. We didn't fold and our kids kept battling. The better team won tonight."

Southern Wayne (6-11 overall, 2-1 ECC) took a 4-2 lead on a layup by John Hart with 5:46 remaining in the first half. Senior guard Termaine Miller started a 20-4 run with a layup on Kinston's next possession and the rout was on.

The Vikings scored 32 points off 20 Southern Wayne turnovers, while only giving up 16 points off their own 12 turnovers.

Kinston (13-4, 3-0) led 22-10 at the end of the first quarter, 51-34 at halftime and 68-45 after three quarters. Vikings sophomore wing Reggie Bullock said it was important for his team to come out and establish their domination early.

"We knew we had to come out and play hard because we want to be the No. 1 seed in our conference," Bullock said. "They're a pretty good team and we knew we couldn't let down against them."

It was also Bullock's first home game since announcing his commitment to North Carolina last week.

"It felt pretty good to be back in front of the home crowd," Bullock said. "I finally got a chance to show them what I could do since committing to Carolina. I know I need to keep working hard."

Southern Wayne was led by 15 points from Kendrick Thompson and 14 each from Hart and Desmond Raiford.

"We knew we had to come in here and play hard because we knew what we were up against," Stephens said. "We hit a couple of big shots early, but their transition game was phenomenal tonight. They got a lot of easy scores."

Kinston was led by a career-high 23 points from senior guard Akeem Sutton. Bullock and Miller added 18 each for the Vikings.

Kinston coach Wells Gulledge had nothing put praise for the job Stephens is doing in Dudley.

"Those kids are just getting adjusted to him," Gulledge said of Stephens, a former teammate of his at Mount Olive College. "By the end of the year, we're not going to want to play them."


Courtesy Kinston Free Press