WCDS boys get at-large bid to NCISAA 1A playoffs
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 17, 2014 1:48 PM
Wayne Country Day hopes that a challenging schedule, filled with some disappointments along the way, has prepared it for the next step of its basketball season.
Avoiding the "bad game" is paramount now.
The Chargers received an at-large bid to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs, and entertain ninth-seeded Neuse Christian Academy on Tuesday evening. Tip-off is 7 p.m.
It's the first-ever meeting between the two teams, but not for the head coaches. David Flowers, in his first season at WCDS, endured three losses against Lions skipper Scottie Richardson while at Community Christian last season.
"We know each other and understand what each team likes to do," Flowers said. "I think it's going to be a really good game. (But) if we come out flat ... not ready to play, we could be in trouble.
"With the size they have and athletic ability, we have to play good defense and hopefully make some shots. We've played these kinds of teams all year on our schedule, which should help us out now."
Ten of the Chargers' 11 defeats occurred against five of the top eight-seeded teams in the playoffs. Three setbacks came against top-seeded Trinity Christian of Fayetteville, which awaits the winner in the quarterfinals Thursday.
To reach that point, eighth-seeded Wayne Country Day (22-11) must contain an up-tempo opponent that generates its offense out of an aggressive man-to-man defense. The Lions (17-9 overall) have posted 100 or more points in four games this season and have five players who score in double figures.
Six-foot-2 junior guard Glen Campbell leads Neuse with 16 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Point guard Fred Rambert, the lone senior on the team, knocks down 13.4 points and logs at least seven assists per outing. Sophomore guard Dondre Griffin averages 11.8 points and five rebounds.
Justin Storey, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, averages close to a double-double -- 12.2 points and eight rebounds. Frontcourt mate Matt Kalaf, a 6-7 sophomore, contributes 11 points and nine boards.
"Rambert is very good. Storey is a solid player," Flowers said. "(Kalaf) steps out and shoots the ball well, too."
WCDS will counter with four productive starters -- senior Lee Atkinson, junior Joel Davis, Shahim Muhammed and junior Victor Miller. Atkinson averages 15.5 points and 4.5 assists a game, while Davis scores at a 12.9 clip.
Miller and Muhammed combine for 15 points per contest.
The Chargers have made eight trips to the quarterfinals since 2004 and are 11-14 all-time in the postseason since 2000.
"We've had some games where we were one or two plays away from winning ... just couldn't go over that little hump," Flowers said. "If the kids come out and understand they are playing for a chance to continue in the state tournament, especially our two seniors, then we could do something really nice.
"It's going to be a fun tournament. It's one of the best tournaments out there with loads of talent in the top nine."
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