Kinston's boys, girls defeat Greene Central
Kinston's Judah McBynum drives through the lane in Tuesday's match against Greene Central. Photo by William "Bud" Hardy / Neuse News
Kinston was ready to make a statement at home Tuesday.
The Vikings defeated Greene Central 55-42, giving the Rams their first Eastern Carolina Conference loss of the season and exacting revenge from last month. Kinston (15-6, 6-2) lost to Greene Central 64-58 in overtime on the road Dec. 14, but never trailed after the opening minutes in the rematch.
"This is a big conference game and I thought we executed our gameplan very well," Kinston coach Perry Tyndall said. "Our guys locked in on defense and (Greene Central) missed some shots, which helped. On offense, we did a great job attacking and picking our spots, doing all of the little things to win."
A pair of Hysaan Hudson free throws put Greene Central (15-6, 8-1) up 9-8 midway through the first, but Cardiaa Koonce answered with two of his own to spark an 8-0 run to put Kinston ahead for good. The teams traded a pair of runs, but after a coast-to-coast layup by B.J. Corbitt brought Greene Central within 24-22, Dontrez Styles' 3-pointer started an 8-1 spurt for Kinston to close the half.
Styles was plagued with foul trouble in the first meeting, but led all scorers with 16 in the rematch.
"I was just doing my part to play my game and help out on both sides of the ball," Styles said. "I did my best not to get in foul trouble again."
Donte Johnson started the third with a 3-point play to bring Greene Central within 32-26, but the Vikings' subsequent 8-0 run prevented the Rams from getting closer. Kinston led by as many as 18 in the second half and while Johnson would hit a free throw with 3:13 remaining to bring Greene Central within 49-40, baskets from Will London and Judah McBynum ended the threat.
McBynum provided the exclamation point on Kinston's win, driving down the lane with a slam past Dodd with 1:38 left to spark the celebration.
"I was wide open and I took the opportunity," McBynum said. "I saw Imajae and knew there would be some adversity, but I was able to handle it."
Greene Central coach Blue Edwards said it wasn't a great night for the team offensively. The Rams shot 26 percent from the field and hit just 3 of 26 from beyond the arc.
"We shot extremely poorly and didn't attack the basket like we needed to," Edwards said. "I felt like we were stagnant and settled for long shots. We didn't play to win today and you have to give Kinston credit."
London scored 10 points for Kinston and Parson added nine. For Greene Central, Dodd had 11 and Corbitt added nine.
In the girls' game, Kinston shook off a slow start and defeated Greene Central 74-18.
The Vikings (15-5, 8-0) turned a close game into a blowout in the second to keep the Rams winless.
"Mentally, we weren't in it during the first quarter and we had to adjust," Kinston guard Lesley Sutton said. "We got back to playing hard and were able to get the win."
Greene Central (0-19, 0-9) started the game on a Leaudrea Mason layup before Taliyah Jones and Alena Rivers scored the points in a 9-0 run for Kinston. Mason's 3-point play brought the Rams within 11-7 to end the first quarter, but the Vikings responded with a 29-0 run in the second on the way to a 43-9 halftime advantage.
Kinston forced 29 Greene Central turnovers in the first half, including 19 in the second quarter. The bench also scored 38 points, including Rivers netting all nine of hers in the first half.
"We see what the starters are doing and then try to keep the same intensity," Rivers said. "We've been healthy all season, which has allowed us to practice our defense and keep everything going well in games."
Kinston forced a running clock on a Michyla Dove layup with 5:52 left in the third and stretched its lead to 56 by game's end.
Rams coach Tammy Elbert said turnovers killed in this one.
"We had a good spark in the first quarter, but we have to take better care of the ball," Elbert said. "That led to a lot of easy opportunities for Kinston."
Zykia Andrews led the Vikings with 15 points. Jones and Dove added 11 points each and Sutton provided eight.