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Kavaris Evans could only slam both hands onto the Fike High court in disgust. Maybe, he knew what was coming next.
With the senior guard sprawled on all fours in the second quarter following another Golden Demons turnover during Tuesday night’s highly anticipated varsity boys basketball game with Farmville Central, the Jaguars penalized Fike for being careless with possession.
Farmville Central’s Terquavion Smith finished off a one-handed dunk to turn the miscue into points, and it was part of a 22-4 run that turned a meeting of unbeaten teams into a runaway 90-54 loss for the Demons.
Both teams entered play unbeaten through seven games, but it was the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference Jaguars that looked every bit the part of a serious contender for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A championship.
Fike junior forward Moses Parker found his way behind the Farmville Central pressure defense at times to finish with 24 points, but the Jaguars backcourt of Smith and Justin Wright had its way, combining for 49 points. What was an exercise in feasting on Fike turnovers in the first have turned into a 3-point shooting exhibition from the duo in the second half.
“You can’t make mistakes against a great team like that,” Fike head coach Brent Secrest said. “We probably had close to 40 turnovers, and they probably scored on, if not on a lot of them, every one of them. They’re going to make you pay, and we didn’t take care of the basketball. We were real sloppy with it, tried to throw lob passes, and they’re just too athletic to do that.”
Fike of the Big East Conference, which was No. 2 among 3-A teams in pregame MaxPreps rankings, led for the final time at 4-3 on a pair of layups from Parker. But the Jaguars, top-ranked in 2-A by MaxPreps, went on a 9-0 run. Wright hit the first of his five 3-pointers, and Smith had a pair of dunks off a turnover and in transitions. Passes thrown across the floor by Fike were prime candidates to be tipped away and, almost without fail, promptly turned into two easy points by the Jaguars.
A 35-point second quarter from the Jaguars sent Fike into halftime trailing 57-23.
“We spend a lot of time working on our defense, probably more than average for a high school team,” Farmville Central head coach Larry Williford said. “Because if you can’t defend and you can’t be active and you can’t create offense, a lot of times it’s hard to score. Guys like to play this way, and it’s something we’ve really tried to do since I’ve been here, is to create offense off defense.”
In trying to keep Farmville Central’s guards under control, Fike senior Jaylen Ward was whistled for his second personal foul before the end of the first quarter. With the Demons trailing 24-15 at the start of the second quarter, Ward was summoned back onto the floor. However, he quickly picked up his third foul with 7:17 before halftime, sending him back to the bench and helping kick-start a 20-4 spurt for the Jaguars. The visitors consistently pushed the pace and played above the rim, getting a handful of dunks off of their own misses.
“They won the battle all around,” Secrest said. “That’s a great team, dead-eye shooters and they can jump out of the gym. They’re fast, quick — you name it. I’d be surprised if they don’t win the 2-A championship.”
Ward ended up finishing with nine points for Fike. Seniors Elijahwon Cooper and Zy’ree Wilder had seven each.
Fike’s biggest deficit was 42 on a 3-pointer from Smith with 2:02 left in the third quarter, which triggered the continuous clock. Farmville Central hit 11 3-pointers, with five from Wright and three from Smith. Eight of the total came after halftime, and Williford cleared his bench before the end of the third quarter.
The Demons won’t have much time to dwell on their first loss, as they host county rival Beddingfield on Wednesday.
“It’s just a loss,” Parker said. “We’re 7-1; we’re still good. We’ll come out a lot stronger tomorrow.”
Secrest scheduled the contest in the preseason with the expectation he’d receive a definitive barometer on his team’s pulse.
Indeed, he got it.
“My thought was we’d get a good contest and we’d get to see where we’re at, at this point in the game,” Secrest said. “We found out where we are at this point in the game. We’re not as good as we thought we were.”
FARMVILLE CENTRAL (90)
Smith 23, Short, Owens, Wright 26, Foskey 2, Harper 8, Suggs 5, Wilkins 6, Moye 7, Teel 10, Baker 3, Hardy.
Ward 9, T. Atkinson, Evans 5, Cooper 7, Dickerson, K. Atkinson 2, Madar, Wilder 7, Phelps, Lee, Johnson, Parker 24.
Score by quarters:
Farmville Central 22 35 25 8 — 90
Fike 15 8 22 9 — 54