Kinston defeats First Flight in Good Guys vs. Cancer Event
Kinston’s Dontrez Styles goes up for two of his game-high 24 points over First Flight’s Dylan Blake in the Vikings’ victory Saturday. Photo by Bryan C. Hanks / Neuse News
KILL DEVIL HILLS | Defense was key for Kinston in a matchup with a strong shooting team, and the Vikings handled the challenge well.
Kinston defeated First Flight 73-53 in the inaugural Good Guys vs. Cancer event. More than $4,000 was raised for cancer research for the event and 17 teams had the opportunity to play, including the Vikings (3-1) who never trailed while holding the Nighthawks' shooters in check.
“(First Flight coach) Chad (Williams) put a lot of time and energy into this event and it hits home,” Kinston coach Perry Tyndall said. “His dad’s fighting for his life and our kids understood that. For us, we played in the inaugural ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ event in Asheville years back, so when (Williams) asked, there was no question — I wanted to come. We’re proud to be able to come honor his dad and a whole lot of other people.
“(As far as the game), it’s a great win against a quality team but we know it’s bigger than basketball.”
Kinston ran out to a 6-0 lead to start the game, but First Flight fought back as a Reese Jones 3-pointer brought the Nighthawks within 17-16 in the waning moments of the first. The Vikings led 24-22 before Dontrez Styles hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the advantage to eight. Kinston kept up the momentum with Chance Minott's steal and layup giving the Vikings their biggest lead of the half at 41-27.
”I knew I had a size advantage, so I just had to execute and do what I do,” Styles said. “On defense, we knew we had to get our hands up and not let them get a chance to shoot well.”
Kinston went up by as 19 in the third, but First Flight hit four 3-pointers in a run to get within 53-41 heading into the fourth. Shamon Wooten hit a twisting layup to start the fourth for Kinston, but Dylan Blake connected on a perimeter shot to bring the Nighthawks within 55-44 with 7:21 left.
On the ensuing possession, Wooten converted a 3-point play to key a 12-0 run and put the game away. The Nighthawks wouldn't get within 19 from there and ended up shooting 10 of 30 from the perimeter.
On the other end, Kinston went 7 of 14 from beyond the arc with Minott connecting on three. As Eastern Carolina Conference play starts Monday for the Vikings against South Lenoir, Minott said a victory like this was necessary.
“It’s a great start,” Minott said. “We need all the confidence we can get and we just need to remain focused.”
Williams said Kinston was ready from the start.
“They were physical with us and defended really well,” Williams said. “There’s a reason why Kinston is who they are — they were ready to scrap and they’ve got athletes with skill. Coach Tyndall does a fantastic job with the program and they’ve got great kids who work hard.”
Overall, the event was a success for Williams, who wanted to bring awareness to cancer in the process of a strong event with teams such as Farmville Central, South Central and Word of God among the 17 participating.
“It’s a little bit overwhelming,” Williams said. “Hopefully the teams enjoyed themselves and we want to make this an annual event. I want it to live on and want my dad to see it—there are a lot of good guys out there and I’m thankful for the friends in the coaching community. My players and parents have done so much to bring this together and it’s been a blessing.”
KINSTON 73, FIRST FLIGHT 53
K 17 24 12 20 — 73
FF 16 11 14 12 — 53
KINSTON — Dontrez Styles 24, Chance Minott 15, Wooten 9, Parson 8, McBynum 4, Koonce 4, Williams 3, Roberts 2, Davis 2, Dixon 2
FIRST FLIGHT — Jordan High 14, Reese Jones 13, Dylan Blake 12, Bell 5, Beasley 3, Savona 2, Kitchin 2, Witt 2
Fouled out: None.
Technical fouls: None.
Three-pointers: K — Minott 3, Styles 2, Parson, Williams. FF — Blake 3, Jones 3, High 2, Bell, Beasley.