Southern Wayne knocks off C.B. Aycock
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 13, 2009 1:46 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Southern Wayne wrapped up its regular season by spoiling senior night for county rival Charles B. Aycock on Thursday night.
The Saints earned a 62-55 victory and an opening-round bye in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament, which begins Monday.
"Our guys have worked really hard to get to this point," said Saints head coach Russell Stephens. "Last year we had to go to Currituck County in the first round and it was tough because only a handful of parents could get there."
A full gym greeted the Saints in Pikeville for the conference finale.
The Golden Falcons opened the game cold from the field but stayed within striking distance by playing tight perimeter defense and winning the battle on the boards.
The Saints lost their touch in the second period.
"We missed a ton of shots in the second quarter and they were running right around us," said Stephens. "Our legs were tired from playing last night and they were faster than we were."
Devon Newsome capped the Golden Falcons' comeback with a NBA-range 3-pointer as the first-half buzzer sounded. The shot tied the score at 24-24 and set the stage for the rest of the night.
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second half before Southern Wayne went a 6-0 run and pulled out to a 38-30 lead with one minute to play in the third quarter.
Charles B. Aycock's shooting slump continued into the final eight minutes and the Saints capitalized. A putback by Desmond Raiford increased the visitors' lead to 12 and forced the Falcons to use a timeout.
"Every team goes through those stretches where the offense just isn't there," said Aycock head coach David West. "The key is to respond and come back."
Near-perfect free throw shooting preserved the victory for the Saints. Point guard Justin Artis went 8 for 8 from the line in the final 90 seconds.
"Justin is the guy we want with the ball because we know how good he is from the line," said Stephens. "Our guys did a really good job of freeing him up so he could receive the ball."
Artis finished with 17 points to lead the Saints' (18-6 overall, 8-2 ECC). Raiford added 13 points and 12 rebounds. James Jones scored nine points and grabbed three steals.
C.B. Aycock (13-11, 2-8) was paced by Tyheim Pitt's 18-point effort. Newsome and Khendra Reid each added eight points. Reid pulled down a team-high 12 boards.
"Tyheim is a really tough young man, he never gives up," said West. "Every night he wants to go out and match up against the best guy on the other team. He and Khendra always play with a lot of intensity."
The contest marked the final home game for six Golden Falcon seniors -- Reid, Newsome, Jonathan Williams, Kyle LaFlamme, Dominique Young and Daniel Lane.
"Two years ago we lost all our games. Some of these guys were on that team and they stuck with it," said West. "Last year we wanted to win five games and we got three. This season we wanted to be .500 or better and we did that."
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