Greene Central dominates South Granville in second round
Greene Central's Imajae Dodd drives through the lane for two of his game-high 27 points in the Rams’ second-round win over South Granville Thursday. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy
SNOW HILL — The team on a 12-game winning streak never knew what hit it.
South Granville rolled into Greene Central hot and confident Thursday but left cold and humbled as the Rams played one of their best games of the year and routed the Vikings 82-58 in the second round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs.
“I told the team at halftime that it was the best half of basketball we’d played all season,” GC coach Theodore “Blue” Edwards said. “Things got a little sloppy at the end but, for the most part, we played just as well in the second half. Overall, a tremendous team effort.”
South Granville’s Bobby Pettiford opened the game with a long 3-pointer. GC retaliated with a dunk and a put-back from Imajae Dodd and never trailed again.
The margin swelled to 24-5 by the end of the first quarter, was 42-20 at intermission, and grew to as many as 30 in the second half.
The Rams (21-7) shot 52 percent from the floor (36-of-69) and dominated the glass by a 50-26 margin. GC did very little wrong, aside from committing 15 turnovers, and even that number wasn’t out of line given the often frenetic pace of play.
“We were very efficient on offense,” Edwards said. “We did a good job of moving the ball, finding the open man, and then knocking down shots when we had the looks. The turnovers need to be cleaned up, but several of those came late during garbage time.”
As good as the Rams were offensively, they may have been even better on defense.
GC’s 2-3 zone gave the Vikings’ guard-oriented offense fits. South Granville shot just 39 percent from the floor (25-of-64), including a 9-for-30 effort in the opening half.
“I told our guys a week ago that our defense had to get better if we wanted to win a state championship, especially our perimeter defense,” Edwards said. “Just about all the teams that are still alive have excellent guard play, and South Granville was no exception. We did a good job contesting the three-point play and stopping their dribble penetration.”
The Vikings’ leading scorer, Micah Jones, nearly reached his season scoring average (23.6) with 22 points, but he needed 27 shots to reach that number (10-of-27). He managed just 5 points in the first half as the Rams buried the Vikings (20-9) in a deep hole.
The Rams placed four players in double figures, led, as usual, by senior center Imajae Dodd. The UNC-Wilmington commit shredded the smaller Vikings for 27 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks, and even added 6 assists to lead the team in all four categories.
“We played with great intensity as a team, especially on defense,” Dodd said. “We made them work hard for every basket.”
Dodd got plenty of help from Hysaan Hudson (18 points), Jekael Gay (13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks), and Donte Johnson (10 points).
The only starter who didn’t score in double digits, B. J. Corbitt, was still solid with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
The Rams will see another team with excellent guard play in Saturday’s third round when free-wheeling, 3-point bombing First Flight comes to town.
The Nighthawks (20-8) defeated South Columbus 69-63 in Thursday’s second round.
South Granville 5 15 18 20—58
Greene Central 24 18 24 16—82
VIKINGS—Micah Jones 22, Bobby Pettiford 17, Wy’Kise Allen 13, Faucette 3, Thomas 3.
RAMS—Imajae Dodd 27, Hysaan Hudson 18, Jekeal Gay 13, Donte Johnson 10, Corbitt 8, Suggs 4, Conner 2.