03/31/13 — Aycock's Moats earns boys' coach of the year

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Aycock's Moats earns boys' coach of the year

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 31, 2013 1:52 AM

Taking over a program that has never been the talk of the town is not easy.

Steve Moats took on that challenge at Charles B. Aycock and suffered through a disastrous first year. Two years later, Moats experienced the turnaround he anticipated in Pikeville.

One year after putting together a 4-20 campaign that culminated with a last-place finish in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference, the Golden Falcons compiled a 15-13 record and advanced to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state playoffs this winter.

For his efforts, Moats has been named the 2012-13 News-Argus All-Area Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year.

"The strange thing is that we had basically the same team for both of my seasons," Moats said. "With that said, there were a few critical differences this year. Our guys really bought in to playing fundamental, unselfish basketball."

In order to improve the basketball product, Moats turned to the leaders of the Golden Falcon football team. A.J. Mundle, Cody Garris and Andre South emerged as leaders on the hardwood and brought an inherent toughness to the program.

"We did not have A.J. last year and he was huge for us this year," Moats said. "He is a gritty kid and he is a natural leader. His points and rebounds were big, but his leadership was critical."

The Golden Falcons started the year with two wins, but fell on hard times before Christmas and dropped to 2-5 overall. A loss to Greene Central opened the team's eyes.

"We had gone to Greene Central and won by 20 points," Moats said. "Then we kind of fell apart a little bit and a week later they came into our building and beat us. I think the guys realized that we had to step up the effort on the defensive end."

After the Christmas break, C.B. Aycock figured the game out. Star forward Michael Williams increased his production and the team's bench improved drastically.

"Michael has all the skills and this season he was more of a consistent offensive threat," Moats said. "Early in the season some of our key guys felt like they were playing too many minutes. We had to change how we handled the rotations and that seemed to make everyone better."

The Golden Falcons won 9 of their final 11 games and reached the state playoffs. C.B. Aycock fell to Rocky Mount in the sectional finals.