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A layup from Khouri Carvey that tied the game at 57 with 21.4 seconds remaining did not prove to be enough for the Fike varsity boys basketball team in a 59-57 loss at home to Greenville Rose on Tuesday night.
“We settled down a little bit, put some pressure on the ball and we played some tough defense right there at the end,” head coach Brent Secrest explained. “We just came out flat tonight, didn’t seem like we had our normal energy. I don’t know what it was, one game early this week, we’ve got two more. We did a better job rebounding there at the end, put some pressure on the ball and getting a couple steals. I just wish we could have hit a few more layups.”
Just like the home team had been doing all night, the 3-A Big East Conference Golden Demons worked hard to play catch up to the 3-A Rampants (5-0) of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference — and leading-scorer Aaron Murphy, who had 21 points — by a 13-point effort in the final eight minutes.
But when Murphy knocked down a layup with seconds remaining to respond to that tie and take the lead again, the home team no longer had any more opportunities, other than a last-second heave, to respond.
The end of the game was one of several moments when it looked like the Golden Demons had a chance to steal away victory.
Fike began the game on the receiving end of an 11-2 deficit, but worked hard after that to score 14 of the next 20 points to keep things close by the start of the second quarter.
By halftime, though, the visiting team lengthened its lead back out to seven points headed into the second half.
Murphy finished with eight points in the first half, finding an edge with his physicality. Moses Parker did the same for Fike, finding seven points of his own as the Demons looked toward the second half as an opportunity to play better.
“We should have found the open man instead of arguing,” Carvey said. “We weren’t playing as a team in the first half.”
To start the second half, Fike went on a 7-2 run to come within two points of Rose before the Rampants scored seven-straight points to lengthen the lead back out.
Each time Rose let go of its control and Fike brought the game within a few points, key baskets put the Rampants in position to lengthen out its advantage again.
By the end of the third quarter, Rose led by nine points when Fike began its final push. Led by Parker, the Demons scored nine of the next 13 points to come within two points.
Then with the time dwindling, Carvey’s layup briefly tied the game, but turned out to not be enough.
“They were very quick and very athletic,” Secrest said. “They were much more athletic than us, overall. They’re probably one of the most athletic teams we’ll face all year.”
Waller 13, Griffin 8, Latham 5, Murphy 21, Fields 4, James 2, Hamilton 4, Maye 2.
J. Atkinson 12, Lee 2, Jones 2, T. Atkinson 7, Parker 17, Carvey 12, Williams 2, Battle 3.
Score by quarters:
Rose 16 15 22 6 — 59
Fike 14 10 20 13 — 57