03/02/13 — Gryphons too strong for Golden Falcons

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Gryphons too strong for Golden Falcons

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on March 2, 2013 11:22 PM

ROCKY MOUNT -- Charles B. Aycock wanted to hang around long enough and aggravate defending Class 3-A state champion Rocky Mount on Friday evening.

The Gryphons never tightened up.

And the 12th-seeded Golden Falcons couldn't overcome a second-quarter scoring drought and committed 26 turnovers during a 72-43 loss in the N.C. High School Athletic Association boys' basketball sectional finals.

Dante Battle posted a double-double -- 20 points, 10 rebounds -- for Rocky Mount, which clinched its fourth consecutive trip to the eastern regionals. Immanuel King added 16 points and Michael Gainey Jr. chipped in 13.

Michael Williams pumped in 15 points for Aycock, which finished 15-13 overall after winning just four games last season. Shakel Powell knocked down 11 points and Neil Clark supplied 10 points off the bench.

"This is a team that has really overachieved," third-year CBA head coach Steve Moats said. "To go from four wins to sectional finals in a year, speaks volumes to the hard work of our seniors and the contributions of our juniors.

"I thought it was a great improvement for a team in one year."

The No. 2-ranked Gryphons (25-2) claimed their ninth consecutive postseason victory and 18th overall since 2010 when they also beat the Golden Falcons in the sectional championships.

"I'm glad to see we didn't get out of whack when we didn't hit the 3-ball, which really wasn't good to us tonight," Rocky Mount coach Michael Gainey said. "The inside play was really what I wanted to see. I don't want to stay out there and shoot those threes. The guys attacked the basket and got the ball inside, I was very pleased with that."

Aycock could never find an offensive balance against Rocky Mount's taller frontcourt -- the 6-foot-5 Battle, 6-4 Gainey Jr. and 6-3 Austin Warner. The trio altered numerous shots and controlled the boards during the early stages of the game.

Jump shots wouldn't fall for the Golden Falcons, who needed the conversions to spread the defense and open the inside for Williams and senior forward AJ Mundle. Mundle, one of three seniors in the starting lineup, concluded his prep career with a six-point, six-rebound performance.

Rocky Mount led 17-9 after one quarter and held Aycock scoreless the first five minutes of the second period. The Gryphons' advantage swelled to 25-9 before Shakel Powell and Williams broke the spell with consecutive 3-pointers.

The Golden Falcons trailed 31-19 at intermission.

"We talked about at halftime that here we are having played really poorly in the first half, we thought, and to have a chance," Moats said. "It's not like we were in the game, but if we had started the third quarter with a run we could have been in the game and that just didn't happen."

Battle collected four points, four rebounds and blocked two shots in the third quarter. King and Gainey Jr. combined for 12 points, mostly off transition baskets, and propelled the Gryphons further ahead, 49-29.

Clark scored eight points, snared three rebounds, picked Rocky Mount for two steals and dished out an assist in the fourth quarter. Mundle, Powell and senior Cody Garris combined for six points.