Saints shocked by Fike's Atkinson
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 24, 2009 1:47 PM
DUDLEY -- The postseason is usually full of surprises.
Jeremy Atkinson turned in a 36-point performance and Wilson Fike shocked Southern Wayne 82-75 in opening-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs on Monday evening.
"That kid is so good at creating his own shot," said Southern Wayne head coach Russell Stephens. "He killed us in the first half and down the stretch when they had to make their free throws, he was the go-to guy again."
The Saints jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening two minutes, but for the following two quarters nothing seemed to go right for the home team.
Atkinson buried back-to-back baskets and sparked a 16-2 Demons run.
During the fast-paced second quarter, Fike began its assault from beyond the 3-point arc. Point guard Mike Davunder buried three baskets from long range and was accompanied by a 3-pointer from Atkinson.
"That's what we have been doing all year from 3-point range," said Fike head coach George Drawhorn. "When it is working, our offense runs smooth. Tonight we were knocking them down."
The Golden Demons led 44-30 at halftime.
"We haven't given up 44 points in the first half all season," said Stephens. "They shot the ball incredibly well, and they made a lot of plays in the second and third quarters."
As they have done throughout the year, the Saints roared back in the second half.
With Desmond Raiford patrolling the paint, Southern Wayne played an even third quarter until the final 10 seconds. As the clock ran down, Atkinson drove the lane and dished the ball to Davunder who launched a 3-pointer with a hand in his face.
The shot found the mark and the Demons (16-6 overall) increased their lead to 64-44.
Southern Wayne finally hit its stride in the final six minutes of the contest. A 22-10 Saints run trimmed the deficit to 11 points.
"If we had played the whole game like we played in the fourth quarter I think we would have been all right," said Stephens. "When we had to start fouling, they made all their foul shots."
Atkinson kept the ball in his hands as the clock wound down and sank six free throws in the final 90 seconds. In addition to his 36 points, the talented senior tallied 14 rebounds and six assists.
Davunder added 19 points in the win. Darrus Parker tallied 12 points and grabbed four boards. For the game, the Demons hit 30 of 39 foul shots compared to just 12 of 16 for the Saints.
"This time of year, we know that we can't leave anything out on the court," said Drawhorn. "We told Jeremy that this could be his final game, and he put the team on his back and carried us to another win."
The loss was an abrupt end to the Saints' season, which included a second-place finish in the Eastern Carolina 3-A conference.
Raiford paced the Saints with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Javaris McMillan added 16 points and five boards. Dwight Smith chipped in 13 points. It was the final contest for six Southern Wayne seniors -- Raiford, McMillan, Smith, Brandon Anderson, James Jones and Deonte George.
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