Junious Smith III: The Eastern Carolina Conference Power Poll
Well, I think it’s about that time for another Flourish Post staple.
I tried different concepts for my site during the six months of operations, but two still resonate in the minds of my 10 fans: The Five Piece and the ECC Power Poll. Considering that I’ve served up a few wings in the past for Neuse News, let’s put together a boys and girls Power Poll heading into today’s games.
I’ll also say a few things about Arendell Parrott, Bethel Christian and Jones Senior because tradition. Well, let’s get into it.
Greene Central (14-5, 7-0)
The Rams have won 12 of their last 13 games, the lone defeat coming in overtime to a Farmville Central team with a great chance to go undefeated this season. Imajae Dodd has been Greene Central’s main draw, but the growth of guards such as B.J. Corbitt, Jekael Gay and Hysaan Hudson have been pivotal to the team’s success.
Upcoming games: vs. Washington Friday, at Kinston Tuesday, vs. North Lenoir Feb. 1
West Craven (11-4, 5-2) (They play Havelock Wednesday)
The Eagles have been streaking as well, winning seven of their last nine and the losses coming to Greene Central in competitive contests. The duo of Laqueze and Latrell Campbell have been exciting to watch from the perimeter, but guys like Sheldon Yates and Ahmad Inman give West Craven some toughness inside.
Upcoming games: at North Lenoir Friday, at Greenville Conley Wednesday, at South Lenoir Feb. 1
Kinston (13-5, 4-2)
The Vikings have struggled with consistency at times this season, but nobody is going to appreciate seeing them on the schedule. Dontrez Styles and Isaac Parson have formed a great connection on the court, and the team’s depth is still phenomenal, including Will London getting back in action. A signature win against Greene Central would quiet doubters.
Upcoming games: at South Lenoir Friday, at New Hanover Saturday, vs. Greene Central Tuesday
North Lenoir (9-9, 2-4)
These aren’t the same Hawks from earlier this season. North Lenoir has gone 4-2 in its last six games, falling to Ayden-Grifton and Kinston by single digits and having a chance for a pair of statement wins this week. De’Shaun Kee and Trevor Sears have been strong from deep with Terrance Copper and Jordan Blow making great drives inside.
Upcoming games: vs. West Craven Friday, at Washington Tuesday, at Greene Central Friday.
Ayden-Grifton (6-10, 3-3)
The Chargers are reeling, dropping seven of their last nine, including three straight by 13 or more. Ayden-Grifton was without Jordan Atkinson for a spell, but James Richardson has picked up some of the scoring slack with Nate Harris providing a presence inside. The Chargers have to get back on the right track fast.
Upcoming games: at South Lenoir Tuesday, vs. South Creek Wednesday, at Washington Friday
Washington (5-9, 1-5)
I haven’t seen the Pam Pack all season, but the team has made incredible strides after last year’s 1-22 campaign. According to Maxpreps, four players average double figures, led by sophomore Omarian Blount’s 13.9. With only two seniors on the roster, Washington could make noise in the future.
Upcoming games: at Greene Central Friday, vs. North Lenoir Tuesday, vs. Ayden-Grifton Friday
South Lenoir (3-13, 0-6)
It has been a tough season for the Blue Devils, and they’ve been competitive recently against Greene Central and North Lenoir, sandwiched between a win against Jones Senior. Having Jaeden Dixon back has helped South Lenoir and guards Rico Freeman and Donte Ellis can shoot from anywhere on the court.
Upcoming games: vs. Kinston Friday, vs. Ayden-Grifton Tuesday, vs. West Craven Friday
Arendell Parrott (4-17, 0-3 Coastal Rivers Conference)
The Patriots are still looking for their first win in 2019 after ending 2018 on a high note defeating South Lenoir. The competition has been tough, and the playoffs may seem like a stretch, but the Patriots will look to finish the year off strong with guys like Nick Harrison and Matthew Huntley leading the charge.
Upcoming games: vs. St. David’s Friday, vs. Cary Christian Tuesday, vs. GRACE Christian Feb. 1
Bethel Christian (7-9, 3-3 NCCSA)
After a fast start, the Trojans have dropped five of their last seven, Thursday’s contest against Faith Christian notwithstanding. This is still the most athletic Bethel Christian team I’ve seen and Cody Dunk does a great job running the show at point guard. Quan Hamilton and Jeremiah Washington have been strong scorers and Scott Sanderson is a perimeter threat.
Upcoming games: at Berean Baptist Friday, at New Bern Christian Monday, vs. Greenville Christian Tuesday, at Hilltop Christian Feb. 1
Jones Senior (3-11, 2-4 Coastal Plains Conference)
After starting the season 0-7, the Trojans have found some solid ground since. Jones Senior likes to play at a fast pace and the team has a nice set of junior guards in Josh Richardson, Detorian Brown and Dejour Brown. The Trojans should start making serious noise next season and don’t be surprised if they catch a few more wins now.
Upcoming games: at Williamston Riverside Friday, at Pamlico County Tuesday
GIRLS (The same schedule applies from boys’ basketball)
Kinston (12-5, 6-0)
The Vikings’ five-game losing streak is in the past and the team has started to find the game many expected. Anzaryia Cobb’s breakout game against North Lenoir Tuesday is hopefully a sign of things to come, and Kinston’s depth hasn’t disappeared in the slightest. Michyla Dove and Taliyah Jones have also taken big steps forward as juniors.
North Lenoir (9-5, 5-1)
The Hawks’ Ashanti Lynch gets plenty of attention (and deservedly so) but the play of Emmenia Lynch, Integrity McPhail and Kanijah Taylor among others can’t go without recognition. North Lenoir is also one of the deeper teams in conference play, which could benefit the team immensely going forward.
Washington (7-7, 3-3)
The Pam Pack have been a solid team under Coach Ralph Biggs, winning 10 or more in their last three seasons and on pace to do the same this campaign. Quietly, Washington has won five of its last six, including 3-1 in conference play with the lone loss coming from Kinston.
South Lenoir (8-8, 2-4)
The Blue Devils have been moving in a positive direction after a 4-game skid, going 6-3 with the losses by six points or fewer. The team has dealt with a fair share of injuries, but Gralicia Jenkins has helped keep them afloat with precision passing. Taniejah Mitchell and Tiffany Croom have also expanded their scoring roles.
West Craven (8-9, 3-4)
The Eagles have alternated wins and losses since Dec. 27, a stretch of 10 games. West Craven also has to prove itself mightily over the upcoming stretch with four consecutive road games, including North Lenoir Friday and Kinston Feb. 8. Deslyn Abrams is the team’s biggest threat, averaging 15.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.
Ayden-Grifton (5-9, 3-3)
The Chargers may have figured something out against West Craven on Jan. 18, using a full-court press to whittle a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit to eight. Ayden-Grifton unleashed it to start the game against Greene Central four days later, and it’ll be interesting to see if the team can sustain it this upcoming week.
Greene Central (0-17, 0-7)
This has been an extremely tough campaign for the Rams, who have just one senior on the roster in Kaliya Sutton. Unsurprisingly, growing pains have been expected and it’s looking rough for the remainder of the season. Baby steps.
Arendell Parrott (9-8, 1-2 Coastal Plains Conference)
It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Patriots, who have stayed above .500 despite losing Virginia Edmondson to a season-ending injury early. Arendell Parrott’s defense has been its calling card, with no opponent scoring more than 50 over the past 15 games.
Bethel Christian (1-13, 0-5 NCCSA)
This poll was written before the Trojans looked to break a 12-game skid Thursday, playing Faith Christian. Bethel Christian also sports a very young roster with only one senior (Shelby Dilda) along with five freshmen, an eighth-grader and a seventh-grader. It’ll take time.
Jones Senior (1-11, 1-4 Coastal Plains Conference)
The Trojans got their first win of the season after a 10-game slide, and had competitive moments against South Lenoir. Jones Senior does have a base to build upon for next season with Tanayja Greene and Dymond Foye.