Balanced effort leads Kinston girls into fourth round
Kinston junior forward Anzaria Cobb drives the lane for two of her nine points on Saturday. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better, more consistent victory for the Kinston girls’ basketball team than their 52-40 win against High Point Andrews in the third round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs on Saturday.
To wit: The third-seeded Vikings scored exactly 13 points in each quarter to advance to Tuesday’s fourth-round home matchup against 10th-seeded Thomasville Ledford (23-6). Nine Vikings scored on Saturday, but none more than Samantha Lee and Taliyah Jones, who had 10 points each.
It was a team win, any way you slice it up.
“We’ve got multiple girls who can come in and do multiple things,” Kinston coach Christopher Bradshaw said. “(Thursday), Alena Rivers didn’t score a point; tonight, she came in and hit a four-point play that really motivated our team.”
Although Kinston won for the 19th straight time to improve to 24-5, it didn’t come easy for the Vikes. They trailed Andrews (21-7) 28-26 at the half, but took the lead for good early in the second half on a 3-pointer from Michyla Dove that gave the Vikings a 30-29 lead. That 3 was part of a 10-0 run that gave Kinston a 37-29 lead with four minutes remaining in the third.
Andrews battled back, though, closing to within a single point at 39-38 at the end of three periods.
However, Kinston held Andrews to a single basket in the final eight minutes of the game to head to the fourth round of the NCHSAA playoffs for the second year in a row. The win also helped exorcise the demons of a third-round playoff loss to the Red Raiders in 2016.
“I think that every time we play (Andrews), they give us a good run,” Bradshaw said. “Every time I look at the bracket and see we’re in there with them, I know we’re going to be facing a well-coached team that is going to give us a tight game.”
Senior guard Bre Lawson led the Red Raiders with 10 points, while sophomore guard Kireatha Baker added nine.
While Dove and Jones paced the Vikings in scoring Saturday, Anzaria Cobb might’ve had the most impressive stats line. The senior forward finished with nine points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots for the Vikings.
Bradshaw knows he’s going to need more solid efforts like the one his team had in Saturday’s victory to advance past the fourth round.
“We know we need to defend the basketball,” he said. “When my girls go in and defend the basketball like we’ve been doing all season, we’re going to wear down teams and I know we’ll be in pretty much every game.”
Kinston 52, High Point Andrews 40
HPA 10 18 10 2 -- 40
K 13 13 13 13 -- 52
Andrews: Jeriel Nesbit 10, Baker 9, Perry 8, Nesbit 7, Johnson 4, Cureton 2. Kinston: Michyla Dove 10, Taliyah Jones 10, Cobb 9, Rivers 6, S. Jones 5, Dove 5, Andrews 3, Sutton 2, Powell 2.