Southern Wayne drops D.H. Conley
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 22, 2011 1:47 PM
DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne struggled to get its offense rolling on Monday night.
Everything came together in the third quarter.
The Saints used a 28-point third quarter surge to race past D.H. Conley 67-58 in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A boys' basketball state playoffs.
"I thought that was as good a quarter as we have played all season," said Saints head coach Russell Stephens. "We were able to key on their best player defensively and wear him down a little bit, which led to some turnovers and some easy baskets for us."
The two teams battled through a back-and-forth first half as the Vikings capitalized on an overly aggressive full-court defense by the Saints and scored easy baskets. Southern Wayne countered with strong inside play from Khari Faison and Carlos Council.
D.H. Conley led 28-26 at halftime.
"I thought we came out a little tight especially on the offensive end," said Stephens. "We took some shots that were out of our range and we missed a couple of easy looks. We knew we had to turn that around in the second half."
Bernard Gross settled in from behind the 3-point arc. Gross buried three 3-pointers in the second half, including two in a row midway through the third quarter that started a 10-2 run.
Gross finished with 18 points in the win. Faison also added 18 points and 10 boards for Southern Wayne.
"Bernard was able to hit a couple shots that really gave us a spark," said Stephens. "He was able to take advantage of Conley's 2-3 zone and he helped us open things up."
Adam Vos led the Vikings with 18 points. D.J. Weaver finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
Southern Wayne (21-4 overall) entertains defending state champion Rocky Mount at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
"Rocky Mount is always one of those teams that you have to play to get through to the sectionals," said Stephens. "I think in past years they have been the bigger team, but this season we have some big guys that can hopefully slow them down."