The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Sports

February 17, 2014

Jaguars sweep Vikings in TRC action

TARBORO — Losing Two Rivers Conference games has been the story line for the Tarboro Vikings. Saturday, with seven seconds left in the game, the Vikings had a chance to change it when they had one last gasp to tie or send the game into overtime after Northampton County Jaguar Keion Crossen missed a free-throw. The ball bounced off the side of the rim and Vikings senior Maliek Hudson tried to grab the ball and it bounced the opposite way. As he tried to save the ball, it bounced back inbounds and into a Jaguar Meshawn Avent's hand. Northampton County defeated Tarboro 67-63.

"That type of situation down the stretch is how the cookie crumbles sometimes," Tarboro coach Reggie Bess said. "I definitely commend the effort on the hustle play. That could of been a changing aspect of the game, but we didn't put ourselves in that situation."

Hudson put Tarboro (4-15, 2-7) in a situation to stay in the game while he was on the court. He scored 22 points in limited action, due to having three fouls in the first quarter. Hudson sat for nearly four minutes, but Bess couldn't keep his star guard seated any longer.

"I told Maliek I couldn't afford to keep him out of the game," Bess said. "He was cooking at that time and I needed him on the floor."

When Hudson returned after sitting for those four minutes, he picked up right where he left off, scoring from the outside and driving to the basket.

"Maliek was big for us tonight," Bess said. "He knocked down some big jumpers and used his skill to get to the basket to score. He looked good in all facades of the game."

Tarboro's offense was a little more consistent than they have been the previous three games. They turned the ball over just 14 times, nine in the third quarter, and were 13-for-24 from the free-throw line.

Bess said he was impressed with the fight his team gave. He said he could see it in their eyes before the game and felt like they were on a mission.

"I commend the effort the guys gave us," Bess said. "We fought hard. We might be down, but we are not out. I truly believe something is bound to happen in our favor."

Tarboro led most of the first half. With a 35-29 halftime lead, Bess told his team that they needed to box out better than what they had been doing. Tarboro gave Northampton six second chance baskets in the first half.

"I wanted them to squeeze down in the paint," Bess said. "We crashed the boards most of the game, but at times we gave them extra chances to score."

The Jaguars used two runs in the third to crawl back into the game and took a 48-46 lead after three quarters. An 8-0 run in the fourth quarter, proved to be the turning point of the game.

"I was pleased with the effort they gave tonight even though we had a few mental breakdowns down the stretch," Bess said. "A box out here and there and not communicating on defense backside could of made things different."

Tarboro hosts Riverside tonight in the season finale. Depending on the outcome, depends on who Tarboro will play Tuesday in the conference tournament.

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