The second-round NCHSAA playoff preview — ECC edition

The second-round NCHSAA playoff preview — ECC edition

Greene Central’s Hysaan Hudson dribbles against the defense of South Lenoir in a Jan. 11 contest. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy

After one round, only four Eastern Carolina 2A Conference teams remain.

There were nine area teams that qualified for the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs, but Kinston’s boys and girls, along with Greene Central’s boys and North Lenoir’s girls were the only squads to advance to the second round after Tuesday’s contests.

Ayden-Grifton, North Lenoir and West Craven’s boys couldn’t break through and the girls of South Lenoir and Washington fell in the first round as well.

The competition heats up Thursday, where a victory brings a team one step closer to a state championship and a loss ends basketball for the 2018-19 season. Here’s a breakdown of the upcoming games:

BOYS

No. 15 South Granville (20-8) at No. 2 Greene Central (20-7)

First round results: Rams defeated No. 31 Wilson Beddingfield 90-64, Vikings defeated No. 18 West Craven 80-69

GC got back on track in a big way against Beddingfield, scoring 20 points or more in each quarter against the Bruins with 12 players scoring. On the other end, South Granville is riding a 12-game winning streak and coming off a home win against one of the tougher teams in the ECC in West Craven. The Eagles are the only common opponent between the teams as Greene Central picked up a season sweep. South Granville is led by a three-headed scoring attack in Micah Jones (24.3 ppg), Bobby Pettiford (19.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.9 apg) and Wy’kise Allen (16.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg).

No. 25 Southwest Edgecombe (15-13) at No. 9 Kinston (23-6)

First round results: Vikings defeated No. 24 Oxford Webb 63-35, Cougars defeated No. 8 Southwest Onslow 70-56

Kinston’s Judah McBynum skies for a basket in Kinston’s game against Goldsboro Dec. 20, 2018. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy

Since becoming a 2A team in the 2009-10 season, Kinston has never lost a first-round game in the playoffs, continuing the trend with its decimation of Oxford Webb. The Vikings had a balanced scoring effort with 12 players getting points, and were also granted a second home game after the Stallions were stunned by Southwest Edgecombe. The Cougars were swept by North Lenoir in the regular season (Kinston won its meetings with the Hawks) and both teams fell to East Wake. Keishon Porter (19.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) leads the charge for the Cougars, who have won four of their last five.

Kinston’s Khalia Hargett looks to make a play while being defended against Greene Central’s Leaudrea Mason during a game on Dec. 14, 2018. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy

Kinston’s Khalia Hargett looks to make a play while being defended against Greene Central’s Leaudrea Mason during a game on Dec. 14, 2018. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy

GIRLS

No. 14 Roanoke Rapids (19-5) at No. 3 Kinston (22-5)

First round results: Vikings defeated No. 30 North Johnston 64-33, Yellow Jackets defeated No. 19 East Davidson 48-45

Kinston had no problem dispatching North Johnston behind another balanced scoring effort and strong defense. The Vikings allowed only 38.5 points per game in the regular season and kept the same energy in Round 1, while on the other end 11 players scored. Roanoke Rapids finished second in the Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference, won seven of its last nine and come in allowing just 40.6 points per game, garnering 14.6 steals each contest. The Yellow Jackets are led by guards Anna Vann (23.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 6.3 spg) and Michelle Stewart (15.9 ppg, 3.3 spg.)

No. 13 North Lenoir (15-8) at No. 4 N.C. School of Science and Math (30-0)

First round results: North Lenoir defeated No. 20 Richlands 54-41, Unicorns defeated No. 29 South Lenoir 56-32

North Lenoir’s Emmenia Lynch drove to the basket against Southern Wayne on Nov. 26, 2018. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy

North Lenoir’s Emmenia Lynch drove to the basket against Southern Wayne on Nov. 26, 2018. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy

North Lenoir’s first home state playoff game in more than a decade was a success as the Hawks took care of a Richlands team who made it to the fourth round last season. The Hawks played short-handed in the ECC Tournament, but having Integrity McPhail and Kanijah Taylor back was an immense help. Now, North Lenoir will look to get revenge for the conference after NCSSM defeated South Lenoir with its trademark defense. The Unicorns haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 33 points in the past nine games.

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