Greene Central boys, Ayden-Grifton girls win in convincing fashion
The Ayden-Grifton Chargers knew that a conference win on Tuesday night would put them on good ground for a playoff berth. Greene Central would have other ideas, as Imajae Dodd had another dominating game.
Dodd would have 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks while four other players would score in double digits as the Rams easily took this game 76-52.
“I like it when other teams focus on me because it opens up the rest of my teammates to score and we have a lot of scorers on this team, “ Dodd said.
In addition to Dodd, Donte Johnson would have a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“We just couldn’t hit a shot tonight,” Ayden-Grifton coach John Moye said. “We had open shots, but couldn’t sink any of them, and you can’t let a team like Greene get ahead of you when you aren’t hitting your shots. You can’t let them have three-four-five chances at their shots and expect to win.”
The Chargers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, with a three pointer by Jordan Atkinson, who would share the team lead of 13 points with James Richardson. The Rams responded with a three-pointer by Jekael Gay and a slam dunk by Dodd to tie it up. Greene Central would take the lead and build on it with a pair of treys from Gay and Hysaan Hudson. Dodd would slam again with 30 seconds left in the first after he rebounded a missed three-pointer by Gay. The Rams held an 18-11 lead to end the first.
“The guys were really loose before the game,” Rams coach Blue Edwards said. “We didn’t talk much before the game or even during halftime. They went out and played. They communicated as a team. They shared the ball well. It feels great to have a game like this where everyone could get involved.”
“We came out in an attack mode and hit a lot of early baskets,” Gay, who had 11 points, said. “We crash the boards to grab rebounds, we executed well. We just have to keep pushing like this and we will win out the rest of the season.”
Lamar Pridgen opened up the second with a long three-pointer. Greene Central would go on a 6-0 run to start the second as the Chargers would go scoreless for the first two and a half minutes. The Rams dominated the quarter, to take a 41-20 lead going into halftime.
Dodd would open up the second half with a behind the back dunk. Again, the Rams would score six points before the Chargers scored, two and a half minutes into the third quarter. Dodd would make his second slam dunk of the half after Ayden had hit their first basket, by driving down the middle. B.J. Corbitt, who had 10 points for Greene, also got hot as he scored six in the quarter. The Rams would be up 61-34 at the end of three.
“Imajae had a great game, but we need to work through him going down the stretch,” Edwards said. “We rely on him for his rebounding and blocking, which allows us to attack other teams’ shooters. But we need to stretch ourselves out and get the perimeter guys to work through him and attack.
“We do a great job of shutting down the other teams’ shooters. We have guys who can attack them with a one-step reach. That gets us closer to them and unsettles them before they get a shot off. Then, our big guys can grab the rebounds and transition it into points.”
CHARGERS: Atkinson 13, Richardson 13, Gunter 6, Connell 5, Wright 5, Hudson 2, Tufts 2, Harris 2, Cook 2.
RAMS: Dodd 12, Johnson 12, Gay 11, Corbitt 10, Pridgen 9, Smith 8, Hudson 5, Finch 5, Taylor 3, Suggs 1.
The Greene Rams girls basketball team was looking for its first win of the season. The Ayden-Grifton Chargers have lost six straight since topping North Lenoir in early December. Both teams were hoping that a conference win would boost their team’s spirits.
A disastrous second half, in which the Rams scored only nine points would seal the fate of Greene Central. Ayden-Grifton took the contest 66-26.
“This game was difficult to watch,” Rams coach Tammy Elbert said. “Our girls have been working hard, but it doesn’t seem to transfer over into games. We can be our own worst enemy at times. The thing is, I feel that if they were to believe in themselves, they could win some games. At the end of the day, they are a young team and are improving. They just have to believe they can do it.”
After giving up the first basket of the game, Ayden-Grifton went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter. Zy’Keriah Andrews led the way, scoring eight of her 17 points in the first. AG would jump out to a 21-7 lead.
“This win means a lot for us,” Andrews said. “We scored a lot. We’ve had a hard time doing that sometimes. We worked hard for this win and hope it can get us into the playoffs.” Andrews led the Chargers with six steals.
The Chargers opened up the second quarter with an 8-0 run. The Rams didn’t score until almost four minutes into the quarter, as the Chargers tightened up their defense near the end of the half for a 33-17 lead.
“After we played West Craven, I decided that we needed to be more up-tempo,” AG coach Charles Kessel said. “Whenever we play hard like that, we play well and we come back in games. Why not do that the whole game? Our defensive pressure, by design, spreads the action out. Instead of waiting for something to happen, we try to generate turnovers and make it happen.”
Coming back from halftime, the Chargers kept the foot on the pedal, going on a 9-2 run to start the third. The Rams were stifled by the Ayden-Grifton defense, which would collect 17 steals. The Chargers would hold the Rams to just two points in the third and a 59-19 lead started the running clock.
“We are 3-3 in the conference right now,” Kessel said. “We have two big games next week against South Lenoir and Washington; two teams we’ve beaten. If we can do that again, we are in conversation for the postseason.”
Kaliya Sutton would lead the Rams with 14 points and eight rebounds.
CHARGERS: Andrews 17, Williams 14, Little 9, Hardee 8, Hardy 8, Outlaw 5, Tripp 3, Dunn 2, Smith 2.
RAMS: Sutton 14, Davis 6, Wilkins 3, Thompson 2, Mason 1