The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 30, 2013

Vikings, RM Prep split in non-conference action

Sports Correspondent
Van Holland

TARBORO — ROCKY MOUNT – A fast paced offense and a high percentage of made field goals were just two of the problems the Tarboro Vikings ran into when they played the Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars Monday night. Tarboro hung around during the first half, but in the second half the Jaguars dominated the game and went on to rout the Vikings 86-61 in non-conference action. The Vikings fall to 4-14 overall.

"They are a very good team and honestly it is very few teams that they will play and lose too," Vikings head coach Craig Savage said. "They just have players at every position around and are  a very good shooting team."

Savage was pleased with his teams first half performance when his Viking squad played with the Jaguars. Tarboro was able to do so, because Jaguars head coach Don Reams benched four of his starters because of academic issues where they had cut up in the classroom. When Reams inserted his starters into the game, they took over and pulled away from the Vikings.

When Reams put his starters in the game to start the second quarter, Tarboro had a 14-12 lead. That lead didn't last long though, because Jaguars big man Deshaun Freeman and guards Jacob Barrett and Gary Smith took over the game. Those three combined for 49 points in just two and half quarters of action.

In the first six minutes of the second quarter the Jaguars went on a 18-7 run to extend their lead to 30-21. Barrett hit a three-pointer and Tarboro's Kelvin Jones responded with a three of his own. With 54 seconds left, Jones answered with another three and Tarboro trailed Rocky Mount Prep 36-29 at halftime.

Tarboro has had trouble the entire season playing a complete game. Savage said his team has had trouble most of the year coming out of halftime and playing with their opponents in the third quarter.

"The third quarter has hurt us all season," Savage said. "I don't know why it is but regardless if we are winning or not we just don't play well in the third quarter. We seem to be shaken after halftime and that has hurt us a lot this season."

It showed, because the Jaguars blew the game wide open and never looked back in the third quarter. Freeman was able to wow the crowd several times during the quarter when he threw down some amazing dunks. One of his high-flying dunks came when he threw the ball off of the backboard to himself and caught the ball and slammed it down with one hand. He also caught a lob from Barrett to open the quarter and dunked it with two hands. The Jaguars ran away from the Vikings early on in the quarter to take control.

One thing Savage did differently was rotate players in and out throughout most of the game. He had a different lineup on the floor almost every two to three minutes. One positive spark he got, was from freshman point guard Toney Gregory. He gave the Vikings some positive minutes and was able to score 16 points. Gregory hadn't played much lately due to coaching decisions that Savage wouldn't elaborate on, but Savage was pleased with his freshman's performance Monday.

"Toney is going to be a great player by his senior year," Savage said. "He has the ability to do some very good things during his career and that is the reason I have him on the varsity this year."

Savage said he wasn't to concerned with the loss even though he doesn't like to lose. He is focusing on the remainder of the Vikings schedule which is all conference games remaining.

"Our focus is winning the conference games we have left so we can make the playoffs," Savage said. "That is our ultimate goal – to get to the playoffs. We are going to have to play hard the second time through the conference though if we are going to make a run in the playoffs."

Lady Vikings 50

Lady Jaguars 32

The Tarboro Lady Vikings started out very sluggish and head coach Jamie WIlloughby wasn't pleased with her teams performance. She knew going into the game that her Vikings were probably going to play like that since they hadn't touched a basketball or practiced in four days. The Vikings were able to come together in the second half and turn up their pressure defense and go on to defeat the Rocky Mount Prep Lady Jaguars 50-32. The Lady Vikings improved to 7-11 overall.

Tarboro's scoring was spread out and Willoughby got positive offensive performances from her starting five which scored 40 of the team’s points. Kharlil Perry led the way with 11 and she also grabbed nine rebounds. Nyasha Savage also had a productive game as she contributed nine points and had five assist to go along with five rebounds. Another spark was A'Jah Williams for the Vikings. She has learned how to use her speed on the court during transition baskets and was able to get out in front of the Jaguars defense and score on three fast break baskets. She finished with nine points.

Tarboro played poorly in the first half and let the Jaguars hang around. Tarboro led by 10 after the first quarter, 13-3, but in the second quarter, Tarboro couldn't find a way to score early on and the Jaguars took advantage of that and made a come back. They cut into the Vikings lead before halftime and Tarboro led 21-17.

The second half was totally different. Tarboro pulled away early on when they went on a 15-4 run throughout the third quarter.

Willoughby still wasn't pleased with her teams overall performance as she called a timeout in the fourth quarter and told her team that they weren't doing what she had asked of them and they needed to pick it up.

They responded after the timeout and began to run their offense and continued the rout.

Tarboro will be back in action today when they host the Farmville Central Jaguars in an Eastern Plains Conference showdown.