Greene Central boys, West Craven girls get wins in Snow Hill
SNOW HILL — Greene Central is still hot from beyond the arc.
The Rams defeated West Craven 74-65 Tuesday with a strong perimeter game. After hitting 11 3-pointers Friday at North Lenoir, the Rams (9-5, 4-0 Eastern Carolina 2A) had the same amount against the Eagles (7-3, 2-1) in a game they never trailed in, despite several West Craven charges.
"Teams are playing zone more with us to take away Imajae Dodd, so when we go into our offensive sets we'll try to get some of our perimeter guys open," Rams coach Blue Edwards said. "I still want our perimeter guys to get into their rhythm; there were some shots that were forced and we have to do a better job there."
Greene Central's Jekael Gay set the tone early with 12 first-quarter points, including a trio of 3-pointers as the Rams went up by as many as nine.
"Coach told me to set the tone and if you've got the shot, take it," Gay said. "I felt like I was hot from the start and everything was going in."
Greene Central would hit seven 3-pointers in three first half, including one from B.J. Corbitt in the waning moments of the second quarter to put the Rams ahead 39-32 headed into the break. Hysaan Hudson would take over the scoring for Greene Central in the third with 10 points, including a 3-pointer with 2:10 left in the frame to give the Rams a 57-43 lead.
"We just had to settle down and hit our shots," Hudson said. "Of course, we've got the 6-7 monster (in Dodd) so if the defense collapses on him, we're ready."
West Craven trailed 61-47 with 5:52 remaining, but clawed back into the game, getting within 67-64 after a Latrell Campbell jumper over Dodd with 1:49 left. On the other end, Dodd fought off Eagles and corralled two offensive rebounds before slamming the ball home.
"It was a hustle play and I just wanted it more," Dodd said.
West Craven wouldn't get any closer as Greene Central ended the game at the free throw line. Dodd, who scored 10 points in the fourth, nailed all six of his foul shots.
Eagles coach David Fernandez said the team showcased a strong effort, but came up short.
"I thought we played hard," Fernandez said. "(Greene Central's) a long team and we had to adjust early because outside of Havelock we hadn't seen a team with their size. I felt our kids competed and didn't back down; we were in it until the end and that's all you can ask for."
Gay scored a game-high 19 points for Greene Central with Hudson adding 17 and Dodd posting 14. For West Craven, Ahmad Inman had 17 points, Latrell Campbell posted 16, and Laqueze Campbell and Sheldon Yates scored 14 each.
In the girls' game, the Greene Central fell to West Craven 51-36, but had its lowest margin of defeat this season.
The Rams (0-13, 0-4) were competitive for most of the game, including a 12-2 run to end the match.
"I saw heart and a ('never give up') attitude," Rams coach Tammy Elbert said. "They played hard until the end, which is something we've been trying to get them to do. Confidence has been a big thing and they're starting to believe. We're a young team and the experience will come, but I'm proud of the efforts they showed tonight."
Greene Central started the game on a Leaudrea Mason 3-pointer, but the Rams went 10:13 without another field goal. West Craven took advantage, going on a 16-2 run with Kayla Simmons and Deslyn Abrams garnering 11, but Greene Central fought back. Kaliya Sutton scored five points in a 7-2 run to bring the Rams within 18-12 at halftime.
After the teams traded baskets to start the third, West Craven went on a 9-0 run, punctuated by Abrams' 3-point play, to take control. Abrams scored 15 of her game-high 23 in the frame, including a buzzer-beating layup to put the Eagles up 40-22.
"Coach (Lea Wedesky) kept pushing me to turn it up a notch," Abrams said. "We couldn't take (Greene Central) for granted."
West Craven built its lead to 25 in the fourth before a late rally by Greene Central cut the margin to its lowest of the season. The previous low was 28 by Jacksonville Northside on Dec. 28 in a 55-27 defeat.
"At halftime I told the girls we were either going to win or lose by your efforts," Wedesky said. "In the second half, we got fired up and the (PA announcer) played (Michael Jackson's) 'PYT' which helped me get going as well."
Simmons scored 13 for West Craven while DiZiya Thompson had 11 off the bench for Greene Central.