The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 15, 2013

Lady Vikings want to make things happen

Sports Correspondent
Van Holland

ROCKY MOUNT — The regular season has ended for two Edgecombe County schools, but the Tarboro Vikings have one more game tonight when they host the Beddingfield Bruins.

SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars ended their season Tuesday and the North Edgecombe Warriors ended eight days ago. Both of those teams are preparing for their respective conference tournaments to begin with their long break.

The Lady Cougars will play the Lady Bruins Monday in the conference tournament and boys will play either Beddingfield or North Pitt.

The Lady Warriors began tournament play Monday against Weldon. The Lady Warriors finished the season in fifth place after winning only two conference games.

The Warrior boys team finished in third place with a 4-6 conference record and are waiting to see how the season ends tonight to find out who they play in the first round.

For the Tarboro Lady Vikings, they have a lot riding on their game tonight. They could possibly earn an automatic bid to the 2-A NCHSAA playoffs if they could beat the number two team, the Lady Bruins, in the Eastern Plains Conference.

The Lady Vikings are tied with the Greene Central Lady Rams for the fourth spot in the conference with both teams posting a 5-6 record heading into tonight. Both teams have beaten each once this season. The Lady Rams have to play the Farmville Central Lady Jaguars.

The scenarios for the Lady Vikings will be, if them and Lady Rams both win or lose their respective games tonight, then they will play in the first round of the conference tournament and whoever wins that matchup, then they would be awarded the playoff berth. If one of the teams lose, then the other team will earn the playoff spot. Either way it falls, the Lady Vikings will play the Lady Rams in the first round of the conference tournament.

The Lady Vikings have been playing up to head coach Jamie WIlloughby's expectations as of late and are on a two game winning streak after defeating SouthWest and Farmville Central. They have won three of their last four with the loss coming to Kinston, who is ranked seventh in the state poll.

The Lady Vikings have been plagued with turnover problems all season. They have picked up their defensive pressure and forced their opponents to turn the ball over more frequently. The problem that lies within the forced turnovers is the Lady Vikings haven't been able to capitalize on the easy shots and have missed about 30 percent of their chances which include lay-ups.

Willoughby knows that her team is capable of winning big games and has the potential to make a run in the conference tournament and in the playoffs. For that to happen though, they have to concentrate on the Lady Bruins first. The Lady Vikings lost 44-40 the first time they met the Lady Bruins Jan. 11.

Willoughby said her team had a chance to win that game, but turnovers and missed opportunities hurt them down the stretch. They were unable to convert on numerous chances to tie the game up or either take the lead, but failed to do so.

Willoughby hopes tonight's game will be a different outcome and her girls understand what the meaning of it is.

The Tarboro boys are fighting just for bragging rights heading into the conference tournament. They have won only one game in the conference this season and that was a three point victory at Greene Central. The are riding a nine game losing streak in conference action.

The conference tournament scenario for the Vikings is, if they win they will possibly be moved up to the sixth spot and play either Beddingfield or North Pitt, who will be the third seed. If the Vikings lose then they will play the second seeded Farmville Central Jaguars.

The Viking boys have struggled this season and have made a massive amount of careless turnovers even when their opponents weren't pressuring the ball. They have made poor shot selections and been inconsistent on the defensive end of the floor. Their opponents have out rebounded them every game this year and Tarboro is giving their opponents numerous chances per possession on the defensive end to score.

Second-year head coach Craig Savage hasn't been pleased with his teams performances this season and said he couldn't figure out why they have lacked offensive production and weren't playing the hard-nosed defense like he knew they were capable of playing.

Tonight is senior night for the Vikings. The Lady Vikings have two seniors, Quadasha Ruffin and Kharlil Perry. The boys have three, Aaron Moore, Kelvin Jones and Delvin Jones.