Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Behind another big scoring night by senior Jah’Asia Pernell, the Fike High varsity girls basketball team improved to 3-0 in 3-A Big East Conference play with a 47-37 conquest of visiting Rocky Mount on Tuesday.
Pernell poured in 22 points to go with 10 rebounds as the Lady Demons beat the Lady Gryphons (11-4, 0-2 Big East) for the third straight time and took over first place in the Big East. Kendall Harris added nine points and Faith Lucas grabbed 10 rebounds for Fike, now 10-5 overall.
Rocky Mount was paced by junior guard Alexis Moore with 18 points.
Fike head coach Jeff Nelson said the key for his team was defending better against Moore, who had four 3-pointers in the first half.
“We had to find the shooters,” he said. “She hit a bunch in the first half and didn’t hit any 3s in the second.”
Nelson said that Fike’s poor free-throw shooting in the second half allowed the Lady Gryphons to stay close.
The Lady Demons go back out on the road Friday against Northern Nash with a potential showdown for first-place with Hunt looming Tuesday at Fike.
ROCKY MOUNT (37)
Bullock 2, Moore 18, Pittman 10, Young 1, Gilliam 2, Coleman 2, McKnight 2.
Harris 9, Whitaker 7 , Lucas 3, Pernell 22, Sage 6, Lamm, Ortiz, Everett.
Score by quarters:
Rocky Mount 9 10 8 10 — 37
Fike 10 15 9 13 — 47
Lady Knights thump PJP II
GREENVILLE -— A 29-1 run over the second and third quarters helped Greenfield to a 1-A Coastal Plains Independent Conference varsity girls baskeball victory over Pope John Paul II Catholic of Greenville, 41-11.
Head coach for the Lady Knights (9-3, 4-0), Bruce Wall, said in the first quarter his team came out flat and didn’t shoot the ball well, which led to a 5-4 deficit after the first quarter. Wall said after the poor start, he had a talk with his team.
“I pulled them off to the side and said, ‘You played a quarter your way, now you’re going to play the rest of the game my way,’” Wall said.
The talk sparked the Lady Knights to play better defense, Wall said, which fed into better shots for the offense. Kaelyn Wall led the scoring with 15 points. Seventh-grader Serenity McNair put in 10 points. Jeallen Holland put in eight points as well.
The Knights will now await Pungo Christian on Thursday night before traveling to Goldsboro to face arch-nemesis Wayne Country Day on Friday.
Wall 15, McNair 10, Holland 8, Parker 4, Hussan 2, Stone 2
JOHN PAUL POPE (11)
Smith 4, Geigor 4, Wynn 2, McKeith 1, McMillan
Score by quarters:
Greenfield 4 11 18 8 — 41
John Paul Pope 5 0 1 5 — 11
Defense propels WCA past Greenville
GREENVILLE — The Wilson Christian varsity girls basketball team used stifling defense to down North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A East Region Greenville Christian rival 50-12 Tuesday night on the road.
The Lady Chargers, now 12-4 overall and 3-0 in region games, managed to hold the Lady Knights (4-6, 1-4) scoreless in the first quarter. WCA head coach Brian Trull said his team prevented the drive and pressured Greenville Christian guards into turnovers. The Lady Chargers won the turnover battle 28-11 and the Lady Knights couldn’t manage more than six points in a quarter for the entire game.
Trull said his team’s six points in the first quarter was more of a result of missing good shots than taking bad ones. In the second quarter, the shots began to fall with guard Ashley Hartsfield knocking down three 3-pointers in the period. She finished with a game-high 14 points.
Junior Olivia Vick also tallied eight points for the Chargers. McKenna Griffin put in seven points and tied for a team lead with six rebounds. Trull said he was pleased with the rebounding as the Lady Chargers dominated with a 30-9 differential.
The Lady Chargers will be at Halifax Academy for a nonconference matchup Thursday night.
WILSON CHRISTIAN (50)
Hartsfield 14, Vick 8, Griffin 7, Barnes 6, Carnes 4, Reece 4, Tant 2, Parker 2, Gossett 2, Petty 1, Jones, Reams
GREENVILLE CHRISTIAN (12)
Sanders 6, Andrews 4, Warren 2
Score by quarters:
Wilson Christian 6 20 15 9 — 50
Greenville Christian 0 4 2 6 — 12
Lady Panthers hold on to win nailbiter
KENLY — Despite an offensive explosion from Rosewood High in the second half, the North Johnston High girls varsity basketball team held on to a 60-59 via unlikely hero Mackenzie Gibson’s game-winning free throw.
With 10 seconds remaining and the score tied at 59-59, Gibson was fouled. She would nail one of two free throws to put the Lady Panthers (10-3) of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference up by the final score. Gibson scored four of her eight points in the fourth quarter to go with her four rebounds.
Rosewood had one more shot with 2.2 seconds and got the ball into the hands of leading scorer Braylee Butts — but the shot fell short and the Lady Panthers survived the Eagles (8-5) of the 1-A Carolina Conference.
The Lady Panthers led 23-13 at halftime while holding Butts to two points. But in the second half, she hit five of Rosewood’s eight three pointers. She finished with 26 points. The Lady Eagles exploded for 46 points in the second half.
Lady Panthers’ fortunes looked bleak when senior leader Jordyn Scott fouled out with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left and her team down one point. Scott had team-highs with 19 points and four steals.
But sophomore Arial Pearce stepped up to play point guard and get some key buckets versus the Rosewood press. Pearce had six of her 19 points in the fourth quarter. Pearce also grabbed four rebounds and collected three steals. Senior Lindsey Massengill had four of her eight points in the fourth quarter to go with her six rebounds.
The Lady Panthers travel to conference foe Beddingfield Wednesday night at 6.
Score by quarters:
Rosewood 9 4 26 20 — 59
North Johnston 10 13 17 20 — 60
Golden Demons grab Big East top spot
The host Fike High varsity boys team assumed possession of the 3-A Big East Conference lead with a back-and-forth 64-58 conquest of Rocky Mount on Tuesday night.
The Golden Demons improved to 3-0 in the conference and to 12-4 overall. Northern Nash, which did not play Tuesday night, is also unbeaten in the conference at 2-0.
Fike visits Northern Nash on Friday night. The Knights also play Thursday against conference foe Franklinton.
The Demons won the battle of attrition against Rocky Mount, now 0-2 in the Big East. Three Gryphons’ inside performers fouled out in the final quarter.
Fike also lost 6-foot-4 junior Moses Parker via the foul route with some three minutes remaining, but head coach Brent Secrest said 6-1 freshman Devonte Thomas and Zy’ree Wilder stepped in capably in Parker’s absence. Parker wound up with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Senior Elijahwon Cooper fired in 15 points for Fike, while senior Jaylen Ward netted 11. Thomas provided nine points and eight rebounds.
Secrest said the Gryphons hurt Fike inside in the early going, but added the Demons capitalized after Rocky Mount post players encountered foul troubles.
The Demons’ biggest lead was six points, while Rocky Mount’s largest margin was eight. The fourth quarter see-sawed until Fike managed a working margin in the closing minutes.
“We are playing well enough to win,” Secrest noted, “which is what you’ve got to do this time of the year. We know that every game in the conference is going to be a tough game. Whoever can hold their composure at the end of the game is probably going to come out on top.”
The Gryphons (10-4) got 12 points from Ta’vaughan Parker and 10 from Keeshawn Silver.
ROCKY MOUNT (58)
Gray 4, Knight 2, Parker 12, Harrison 8, J. Ward 7, Dunston 1, B. Ward 8, Silver 10, Dupree 6.
Ward 11, Atkinson 4, Cooper 15, Wilder 7, Lee 2, Thomas 9, Parker 16.
Score by quarters:
Rocky Mount 12 16 17 18 — 58
Fike 14 15 16 19 64 64
Chargers rally past Greenville Christian
GREENVILLE — Down 10 points after the first quarter of Tuesday’s varsity boys basketball game at Greenville Christian, Wilson Christian went to work. The Chargers sliced the lead to one point by halftime and then finally took control of the game in the fourth quarter to pull out a key 58-53 victory in North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A East Region play.
“We made some adjustments and focused on one possession at a time as we climbed back into the game,” Chargers head coach Kevin Zander said. “Our intensity just wasn’t there to start. We did a better job in the third eventually taking care of the ball and hitting some key shots when we needed it to force Greenville to foul in the closing minutes of the fourth.”
The Chargers upped their region mark to 4-1 as they climbed to 7-9 overall. The Knights dipped to 7-13 in all games in 1-5 in region outings.
Senior Brice Murray led Wilson Christian with 25 points while classmate Zach Hunter chipped in 18 points.
Senior Davis Andrews posted a game-high 29 points for Greenville Christian.
Wilson Christian pays a nonconference visit to Halifax Academy on Thursday before resuming region play at home Friday versus Faith Christian of Goldsboro.
wilson christian (58)
Murray 25, Dehart 4, Parker 4, Hunter 18, Denmark, Blalock, Thompson 4, Paul 1, Melvin 2, Peacock.
GREENVILLE CHRISTIAN (53)
Blease, House 5, Dove 15, Andrews 29, West, Hagenbush.
Score by quarters:
Wilson Christian 12 15 13 18 — 58
Greenville Christian 22 6 13 12 — 53
Knights roused, run past PJP II
GREENVILLE — After reeling off several impressive wins as part of an eight-game winning streak, the Greenfield School varsity boys basketball team was a little less than dialed in at the outset of Monday’s 1-A/2-A Coastal Plain Independents Conference outing at Pope John Paul II Catholic High.
The Saints, who had never beaten the Knights, owned a surprising 27-26 lead at halftime before Greenfield erupted for 55 second-half points on the way to an 81-49 blowout win.
“The first half was the worst half I think I’ve ever seen play,” Knights head coach Rob Salter said. “We were missing point-blank layups in the first half. We were just kind of lackadaisical. We didn’t come out focused and credit to John Paul, they outplayed in the first half. We had a little bit of a heart to heart at halftime.”
Salter said his team finished with 23 steals after intensifying its defensive play.
Junior Trey Pittman had 14 points and 11 rebounds while Creighton Lebo, also a junior, had 18 points and six steals. Junior Jacari Outlaw netted 16 points and classmates Collin Guilford and Jordan Lynch each added 10 points. Guilford also had five steals and four assists.
With their ninth straight win, Greenfield improved to 19-4 overall and 4-0 in CPIC action. The Saints fell to 3-10 and 0-4.
Greenfield will visit CPIC archrival Wayne Country Day on Friday and then play West Carteret on Saturday at 5 p.m. as part of the Knights’ BSN Showcase. Other games Saturday at Greenfield pit Princeton versus North Lenoir at 2 p.m. and Smithfield-Selma against Bunn at 3:30 p.m.
Pittman 14, Guilford 10, Outlaw 16, Lebo 18, Baker 4, Lynch 10, Foster 6, Holland 3.
POPE JOHN PAUL II (49)
Yarrell 10, Forest 7, Ervin 14, Daniels 7, Moore 1, Woolard 6, Bryant 1, Thompson 3.
Score by quarters:
Greenfield 12 14 29 26 — 81
Pope John Paul II 14 13 10 12 — 49
Triple-double from Forte sparks CCS
ROCKY MOUNT — Behind a triple-double from junior Jimmy Forte, the visiting Community Christian School varsity boys basketball team climbed into first place in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A Coastal Independents Conference with a 64-57 triumph against Faith Christian on Tuesday night.
Forte blistered the nets for 34 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and dished out 10 assists as the Cyclones vaulted to 5-1 in the conference and to 11-7 overall.
CCS continues conference play at home Thursday evening against the Oakwood School of Greenville in the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf gym.
Forte was complemented by junior Christian McFarland with 15 points and junior Michael Piccolo with nine.
By expanding its zone to better defend against 3-point shots and stop the penetration of the quick Faith Christian guards, CCS transformed a 24-22 deficit after one quarter to a 38-33 halftime lead.
Despite slowing the tempo to counter Faith Christian’s quickness. the Cyclones clung to a 50-49 edge going into the final quarter.
Twice with CCS up by a point, Piccolo responded with baskets — once off a steal and once when the Cyclones beat the press. Forte tossed in nine points in the quarter.
“Once we got ahead, we made them come after us,” explained first-year CCS head coach Kenneth Atkinson.
The Cyclones were again without 6-foot-8 freshman Eric Wynn, their leading rebounder and No. 2 scorer. Atkinson reported school issues will keep Wynn sidelined until next week.
Leading Faith Christian were Zach Warrick with 20 points, Hobart Brantley with 13 and Nyzae Lynch with 11.
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN (64)
Forte 34, McFarland 15, Eger 4, Piccolo 9, Lane, Manning, Moran 2.
FAITH CHRISTIAN (57)
Richardson, Batchelor 4, Brantley 13, Pernell 8, Lynch 11, Johnson 1, Warrick 20.
Score by quarters:
CCS 22 16 12 14 — 64
Faith Christian 24 9 16 8 — 57
Rosewood hands NJ its 5th straight loss
KENLY — The North Johnston varsity boys basketball team rallied to take the lead in the third quarter of Monday’s nonconference home game against Rosewood, but the Panthers couldn’t hang on and lost their fifth straight, 47-45.
North Johnston of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference dropped to 5-8 as it has yet to win a game since seizing the Johnstonian News Holiday Invitational title on its home court Dec. 28. Since the Invitational, the Panthers have dealt with injuries to starters Daylan Hinnant and Savon Foye and one of their toughest parts of the schedule.
Junior Justin Vann led the Panthers in scoring with 14 points. Hinnant returned from injury Monday night and had 12 points while Carsse Lucas added eight points.
The 1-A Carolina Conference Golden Eagles departed 6-4.
The Panthers will visit conference foe Beddingfield (4-8, 1-0) on Wednesday.
Score by quarters:
Rosewood 11 13 8 15 — 47
North Johnston 6 13 15 11 — 45
4th-quarter spurt sends Fike to win
With a 14-8 run in the fourth quarter, the Fike High girls basketball team rallied to a 39-37 Big East Conference victory against visiting Rocky Mount on Tuesday evening.
The Lady Golden Demons stand undefeated in three conference outings and 5-1 overall. Fike continues conference play at Northern Nash at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
Pacing the Fike attack were Caitlyn Graziani with 12 points, Janiseya Anderson with 11 and Lindsey Curlings with nine.