02/15/08 — State-ranked Vikings too much for Warrior boys

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State-ranked Vikings too much for Warrior boys

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 15, 2008 2:45 PM

KINSTON -- The game might not have meant much in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference standings, but it certainly did to league-leading Kinston on Thursday evening.

Taking the lead just three seconds into the first quarter, the No. 3-ranked Vikings never trailed as they overwhelmed Eastern Wayne 72-45 in the regular-season finale for both teams. Kinston finished unbeaten (10-0) in ECC play.

"I thought our seniors showed a lot of heart tonight, and a lot of spirit," Gulledge said. "It was a true senior night for those guys."

As the Vikings (20-4 overall) lit up the scoreboard, a number of players usually held to reserve roles got a chance to play in the first half. By halftime, 12 of the 14 eligible Vikings had scratched in the scoring column.

Ahead 43-20 at the intermission, Kinston set the offense on cruise control in the second half and allowed players to have fun within the half-court sets.

"We didn't give up much off of their penetration, and we got some easy baskets in transition," Gulledge said after the game. "Having an undefeated conference run was the first of four goals for this team, next week we get a shot at goal number two."

Goal number two being a conference tournament championship.

"It is going to be a lot of fun," Gulledge said.

The run-away Viking victory did not come without its scary moment.

With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter Eastern Wayne's Daviyon Whisonant reached in for a loose ball only to pull back a severely-injured hand. According to a Kinston administrator, Whisonant had "definitely broken or dislocated a finger."

Without their leading scorer, Eastern Wayne (8-14, 4-6) rode out the final minutes of the game and took a hard-fought, but lopsided loss.

Reggie Bullock led the victors with 16 points, and was aided by nine from Bo Ingram. Every active player for the Vikings contributed at least one point in the 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference finale.

Eastern Wayne was led on the offensive end by Whisonant, who scored 15 in just a little more than three quarters. Teammate Jamere Thomas added nine points.

Behind a strong performance from forward Brittani Billups, Eastern Wayne held off the Vikings 63-60. Billups finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds, and controlled the game as the Warriors rallied from a seven-point deficit.

"I thought she played really well on the offensive end," Warrior coach Brent Holland said. "We knew we had to sort of weather the storm in the second quarter and regroup."

Playing a more compact 2-3 zone after the half, the Warriors forced the Kinston guards into more outside shots, and extend their rebounding advantage.

"I think that Kinston would have beaten most teams tonight, but we found a way to pull it out," Holland said.

Kinston was led by Shaquala Rhodes with 18 points and Audrianna Hall who contributed 13. Eastern Wayne got 14 points from Danielle Daniel, including 12 off 3-pointers.