Smith: Help Out With Basketball Season If You Can...and Kinston-Clinton football commentary
This transition is not an easy one, but will be better with your assistance.
As Thanksgiving has passed and most of us are still recovering from food comas, there is a reminder basketball season is nearly in full swing. With the exception of Kinston, slated to play its first game on Nov. 30, each school in the area has something in the win or loss column already.
During football season, it was easier to cover games despite inclement weather knocking everything out of alignment. Basketball doesn’t have the same luxury and there will be times where at least five of our teams will be playing on the same day. It’s tough to get around considering current limitations and while excuses aren’t something we like to make here, it’s the truth.
Trust and believe Neuse News will do our part to cover the area to the best of our abilities, but we need the community to assist where they can. If myself, Bryan Hanks, Scott Cole or Keith Spence aren’t at a game, send results to firstname.lastname@example.org. If someone can send pictures of the scorebook to my email or other outlets (Facebook, Twitter, my phone number) something can be put together. Throughout the year there will be games we miss, but there will be an effort to at least provide highlights.
Please bear with us — somehow, someway everything will work out.
Now, let’s take a look at the only football game in our coverage area as Kinston puts its undefeated record to the test against a Clinton team hoping to end the season of its second Eastern Carolina Conference team in the past three years.
Clinton (8-2) at Kinston (11-0)
Dark Horses average 32.1 ppg, allow 14.3 ppg; Vikings average 29.5 ppg, allow 14.9 ppg
First round results: Clinton defeated James Kenan 48-10
Despite the success of both programs, this will be the first ever meeting between the teams. Even crazier is despite the relative proximity of the ECC and the East Central Conference, there hasn’t been much interaction as far as opponents. Clinton defeated North Lenoir 36-13 in the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs in 2016 and Kinston defeated Goldsboro 49-22 the same year the Cougars spent their final one in the ECC.
There have been some similarities from both teams so far this season, starting with defense — the Dark Horses have allowed only three opponents to score 20 points or more, Kinston four. Both had to play conference foes in the first round with Clinton defeating James Kenan 50-26 just one week prior.
The difference lies in the close nature of games. Clinton has only played one game within 10 points, a 37-28 victory over Goldsboro on Oct. 12. Kinston has seven close contests, including a streak of five in a row. The Vikings have found a way to go 1-0 every week and if the game is competitive late, the team won’t be rattled. This should be a good one.