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Conley sweeps Rampants, 76-56

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D.H. Conley’s CJ Johnson dunks during a game against J.H. Rose on Feb. 8, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, February 8, 2019

D.H. Conley’s boys basketball team completed a three-game season sweep of crosstown rival J.H. Rose Friday night, defeating the Rampants 76-56.

The Vikings (13-8, 6-4) saw top production from a trio of seniors, including Jahmois Barnhill (18 points) and CJ Johnson (17 points). Gavin Russell finished with 12 points in his first game since suffering an ankle injury against South Central on Jan. 22. 

Aaron Murphy led the way for Rose (3-17, 1-9), scoring 15 points. Montez Green and Jamarion Griffin also finished with 11 points each. 

“I thought the kids played hard,” JHR head coach James Rankins said. “They seemed to be too nervous for this late in the season. We just had a lot of turnovers, missed layups and had blown assignments. I think they were excited and nervous about playing tonight, just too nervous this late in the season.” 

Barnhill, Johnson, Russell, Anthony Barnett, Tyreek Bell and Asa Carson were honored for their dedication and performance to the DHC program in a senior night ceremony prior to the game. Barnhill also received a ceremonial ball for scoring his 1,000th point on Jan. 30 against West Craven.

“These young men have definitely put in a lot of time,” Vikings head coach Rob Maloney said. “It’s nice to see it pay off against a good and up-and-coming Rose team.

DHC made a point to focus on ball movement in the game. The Vikings’ passing led to several layups and easy three-point buckets.

“I liked our patience,” Maloney said of his team’s performance. “For the better part, we moved the ball around well, so we were able to get some good looks.”

Rose took an early 6-4 lead, but struggled to keep its hot streak active, as the Vikings used a 10-0 run at the end of the first to create a large margin that would hold for the remainder of the game. The Rampants kept fighting, and tensions mounted as Green and Barnhill had a discussion that energized an already excited Conley student section. 

Coming out of the break ahead 41-30, Conley then outscored Rose by a 15-4 differential, sealing the game early at 59-34. 

Conley will return to the floor on Feb. 12 when it travels to face Southern Wayne. Rose will host Eastern Wayne. 

GIRLS GAME

D.H. Conley 49, J.H. Rose 30

A dominant first quarter and a game-high 21 points from Jenna Wooten led Conley (15-4, 8-2) to a big win over rival Rose. Kaira Johnson added 14 points in the win. 

Kamya Brown dominated in scoring for the Rampants (4-14, 4-6) with 14 points. She was the only Rose player to exceed five points. 

Conley will travel to Southern Wayne Tuesday while Rose hosts Eastern Wayne. 

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Farmville Central 106, SouthWest Edgecombe 55

Farmville (22-0) dominated Southwest Edgecombe, crowning the Jaguars with the title of regular season division champions for the sixth year in a row.

“I've been here for 19 years, and our intensity in practice is as high as I've ever seen it,” head coach Larry Williford said. “It's carried over to the basketball court.”

After the first few minutes of trading buckets, the Jaguars took flight. In the second quarter, Farmville scored 43 points, totaling 71 at the half.

Jaguars' sophomore guard Terquavion Smith had 24 points to go along with his six assists, four steals and five boards.

“My shot was falling.” Smith said. “Once I started hitting, they started closing out so I could dish it and get my guys involved.”

Smith wasn't the only one with input. Six Jaguars put up double digits – Justin Wright (21), Coda Foskey (12), Rande Harper (14), Dyquavis Wilkins (15), Samage Teel (18) and Smith.

“You have to be good, have to be healthy and have to be lucky,” Coach Williford said about what it takes to be a state champion. “I know that we are good. Let's see if we can get the other two components.”

— Mitchell Thomas

Greene Central 63, South Lenoir 31

It was an emotional night in the Ram Pen as senior night took place at Greene Central on Friday night. After the festivities ended, there was a basketball game to be played.

While it took some time for the Rams to get going, they pulled away in the second half against South Lenoir to stay at the top of the Eastern Carolina 2-A conference.

Blue Edwards’ team led 14-4 at the end of the first quarter and the crowd was rocking. However, South Lenoir stemmed the tide in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils held the Rams to only three points in the second while playing some stifling defense. Turnovers and bad shots from the Rams played into that. Although there were some good shots that didn’t go in for Greene Central, the Rams still held a 17-10 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the talent and size of the Rams took over. Donte Johnson and Imajae Dodd got some second-chance opportunities to extend the lead to double digits early in the third quarter.

“I feel like we got off to a slow start,” Dodd said after the game. “We attacked better in the second half and got wide-open shots. Once we locked in and attacked the basket, it helped us get over the hump. We just want to take it one game at a time from now on.”

South Lenoir’s cold shooting began to set the tone for the Rams’ fast-pace transition game. After struggling early, the Rams’ lead went from seven at halftime to 22 going into the final quarter.

Greene Central outscored South Lenoir 46-21 in the second half. It wasn’t a perfect performance from the Rams, but Edwards saw some nice adjustments from his team.

“We attacked the rim,” he said. “I thought we looked inside a lot more. Donte Johnson got us on track with some extra possessions. It started to loosen us up and we got into the rhythm. Defensively, we picked it up by not allowing second-chance opportunities. Once we started getting going, we were off to the races.”

Dodd had 18 points and Johnson added 11 in their final regular season home game for Greene Central. The Rams finish their regular season at Ayden-Grifton next Friday night.

— Laieke Abebe

Ayden-Grifton 78, North Lenoir 74

Ayden-Grifton narrowly escaped Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference foe North Lenoir Friday night, improving to 9-12, 5-5 on the season. 

The Chargers will travel to face West Craven Tuesday.

South Central 75, New Bern 32

South Central continued its dominance of Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference foes Friday, showing once again the Falcons earned their ranking as ninth in the nation.

The Falcons (21-1,10-0) will host C.B. Aycock Tuesday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Farmville Central 79, SouthWest Edgecombe 66

Farmville Central (18-0) stayed undefeated after defeating the Cougars Friday night.

In the first half, Farmville shook off an early deficit and surged for 48 points. After getting out-rebounded in the first quarter, the Jaguars forced turnovers to make up for it. As a team, the Lady Jags totaled 22 steals.

“Defense wins ball games.” Jaguars head coach Hollis Harper said. “ We got a lot of turnovers on defense. They had a good ball-handler and we made her turn the ball over.”

Of those 22 steals, Rashya Speight had eight of them. On the offensive side, she had 12 assists to go along with her eight points.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to lead this team.” Speight said. “It's my time.”

Four Jags reached double figures – Jordan Joyner (13), Amiya Joyner (13), Zion Shepard (13) and Janiya Foskey.

Joyner collected a double-double, adding 11 rebounds.

“It's fun,” Harper said. “One person might be on off one night, then got another person that can score.”

A simple, “Yes,” was Speight's response to whether or not her team would be at the state championship this coming March. “I'm very confident in that.”

— Mitchell Thomas

South Lenoir 58, Greene Central 38

Although it was senior night in Snow Hill, South Lenoir played spoiler against Greene Central, though the final score didn’t indicate how well the Rams played.

“We played a complete game,” Rams head coach Tammy Elbert said. “Limiting our turnovers allowed for us to be competitive. We just wanted to give our senior class everything we had. I think we did a great job of that.”

The Rams came out with a spirited effort. Despite falling in a hole early, Greene Central was only behind by single digits for most of the first quarter. However, a turnover and run-out layup for South Lenoir pushed the lead to 10 at the end of one.

The Blue Devils extended their lead in the second quarter, but Greene Central wouldn’t go away, as the Rams got the lead back down to single digits. In the end, South Lenoir was able to stave off a run from the Rams and take a 32-19 lead into halftime.

While Greene Central continued to play with a lot of effort, South Lenoir didn’t allow another run for the Rams to get back in the game. The Blue Devils led 43-25 after three quarters and the Rams never truly threatened after that.

“Tonight was one of those nights where I didn’t really care about what the score was,” Elbert said. “I’m so proud of our team’s effort. If we compete like we did tonight, I like our chances against Ayden-Grifton. I think the world of my girls and this made me so happy.”

Kaliya Sutton led Greene Central with 15 points and 11 rebounds in her final home game for the Rams. Jayla Wilkins added eight points for Greene Central, which faces Ayden-Grifton next Friday night on the road in its final regular season game.

— Laieke Abebe

South Central 70, New Bern 22

Coach Robert Duck’s squad notched its 10th straight victory after defeating New Bern 70-22. 

SC will host CB Aycock Tuesday.

North Pitt 52, North Johnston 29 

North Pitt defeated Eastern Plains 2-A conference foe North Johnston Friday night to move to 14-8, 5-3. 

Ashanti Hines led the way with 17 points and six steals. Casandra Watson also had six steals to go along with 14 points. Tjuanna Williams contributed 14 points.

NP will host Nash Central on Tuesday.

MIDDLE SCHOOLS

Bethel girls 40, Ayden 36 

Abbi Evertte (17 points) and Diasia Cox (13 points) led Bethel in its final game of the 2018-19 season. Bethel finished 11-2, 10-2 on the season.

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High Schools

April 20, 2019

D.H. Conley softball kicked off its annual Easter tournament at the Sara Law Softball Complex on Saturday by beating a team from out-of-state, defeating Amelia County (Va.), 7-1.

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April 20, 2019

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April 18, 2019

D.H. Conley recorded its second win, and season sweep, of rival South Central Thursday night, 7-4.

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April 18, 2019

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April 18, 2019

Farmville Central softball catcher Sydney Wade has played a big role for the Jaguars in her three seasons. The talented junior is the team’s go-to player behind the plate thanks to her quick reactions and powerful arm. Preps beat writer Jake Keator spoke with Wade about what it takes to…

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April 16, 2019

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April 14, 2019

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April 12, 2019

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April 11, 2019

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April 11, 2019

Ayden-Grifton senior Blake McLawhorn has held several titles in his high school athletic career, with quarterback and third baseman being the most prominent. Preps beat writer Jake Keator spoke with McLawhorn about his time as a Charger and the skills he has learned. 

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