02/10/08 — State-ranked Kinston too strong for Saints

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State-ranked Kinston too strong for Saints

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 10, 2008 2:12 AM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne did everything it could to keep No. 4-ranked Kinston at bay Friday evening.

Unfortunately, the Saints' effort wasn't enough.

The Vikings exited with a 62-50 victory and a share of the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference men's regular-season championship. Kinston (18-4 overall, 8-0 ECC) can claim the title outright with a victory Tuesday against Wilson Beddingfield.

In the first quarter, swingman Kendrick Thompson provided the Saints' offense. He knocked down two jumpers and tallied all six of his team's points in the opening frame.

The second quarter, marred by continued poor shooting and turnovers, tilted in favor of Southern Wayne (9-13, 5-3) due to a few big minutes from a big man. Desmond Raiford made plays on both ends of the floor as he dropped in six points and altered several shots on defense.

"We knew we would have to rebound well, and Desmond is a very good rebounder. His physical play really kept us in it early," Saint coach Russell Stephens said.

The Saints entered halftime tied after holding steady on the defensive end.

The second half started much like the first as the teams traded baskets and swapped the lead. Kinston came alive in the final two minutes of the third quarter with an 8-0 run. A controversial intentional foul call and an ensuing technical on Viking forward Akeem Sutton sparked a mild Saints comeback.

Kinston led 37-36 after three quarters.

The Vikings surged in the fourth quarter. Bo Ingram dropped in the first seven points of the period, and finished with 11 in the quarter. University of North Carolina prospect Reggie Bullock added six points.

"We knew they were a good perimeter shooting team, and most of their shots were contested. You just have to tip your hat to them for making the big shots," Stephens said.