GC looks to keep momentum going in regional finals
Greene Central’s basketball team practices Thursday in preparation for the Rams’ third straight Regional Finals appearance. Greene Central faces Farmville Central Saturday at Minges Coliseum in Greenville. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
SNOW HILL — Adversity can show how strong a team is — or isn’t.
Greene Central was at its lowest point on Feb. 22, falling 60-25 to Kinston in the Eastern Carolina 2A tournament championship. Despite winning 12 of 13 games prior to, along with the team’s third straight regular-season title, the Rams weren’t expected to reach their third straight regional finals.
Now, Greene Central is two wins away from its first state championship. Outside of a 78-69 third-round victory over Kill Devil Hills First Flight, the Rams have won their other three playoff games by a combined 83 points. The Rams scored 82 or more three times in the blowouts, a feat the team accomplished the same amount of times in the regular season.
“I think we’ve had a great amount of confidence since the Kinston game, both individually and with each other,” Rams coach Blue Edwards said. “After that game, I told them we have to put it behind us and not let it happen again. There’s been newfound trust in each other and we’ve executed well on both sides of the ball.”
The task gets tougher Saturday, as Farmville Central takes its undefeated record into Minges Coliseum for battle. The Jaguars have beaten the Rams three times already this season, although Greene Central lost the last meeting 77-71 in overtime on Dec. 28 at the Pitt County Christmas tournament. Since then, Farmville Central won its last 17 games by double digits, including 14 by 20 or more.
Edwards said execution will be essential Saturday.
“We have to take care of the ball,” Edwards said. “We can’t allow silly turnovers, which could turn into layups and dunks (for Farmville). We have to play better on defense and have the same amount of intensity we’ve shown in these playoffs.”
Rams center Imajae Dodd said the team can hand the Jaguars their first defeat and advance to the state title game for the second straight year.
“We’re ready for this game,” Dodd said. “We’ve got a good game plan and we’ll limit our turnovers in this one. What I like about this team is that we don’t give up — there were times we could’ve, but we pulled through.”
Greene Central guard Hysaan Hudson said it also starts on the defensive end.
“We have to stay committed to defense,” Hudson said. “The offense is going to come, but as long as we get stops, we’ll be fine.”
Greene Central faces Farmville Central at 2 p.m. Saturday.