The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 17, 2012

Viking boys, girls squeak by Warriors

Van Holland

TARBORO — LEGGETT – The North Edgecombe Warriors were coming off of a 40 point loss in their last game and still trying to find their identities throughout the entire team, but they made a big stride Friday night against the Tarboro Vikings. The Vikings were coming off of a 39 points loss and their coaching staff on the other hand is still trying to find players who can give them 100 percent the entire game and listen to the coaching staff. They want players who want to be team players and not individual performers.

The Warriors made the biggest stride between the two teams Friday, but came up on the short end and fell 60-55 to the Vikings in non-conference action. The Warriors are still trying to get their first win of the season and the Vikings improved to 3-5.

Tarboro continued to struggle on the defensive end rebounding the ball. North Edgecombe grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and scored 16 points on second and third chance opportunities. The Warriors beat the Vikings in almost every stat column available, but just couldn't score at the right times.

"We continued to struggle on the defensive end rebounding the ball," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "We can't give teams that many chances on their offensive end of the floor and definitely not give up that many offensive rebounds to an opponent."

Both teams struggled with turnovers. Tarboro committed 26 and North Edgecombe had 20. The Warriors were able to capitalize their opponents turnovers into more points then the Vikings. North Edgecombe scored 16 points off of turnovers while the Vikings only scored nine.

"I am glad we won, but I am not happy about our overall performance," Savage said. "We shot horrible from the free throw line – we got lucky to get the win shooting like that. We got beat on the boards once again. We have just got to get better all around."

Tarboro shot 34-61 from the free throw line and missed 12 down the stretch in the fourth quarter alone.

Tarboro led 27-26 at the halftime, but both teams were playing careless ball. North Edgecombe's downfall was turnovers and Tarboro just couldn't rebound the ball on the defensive end of the floor.

"I told the guys at halftime that the game wasn't over and we had to continue to fight," Savage said. "I told them we had to play even harder because they had cut into the lead and we were only up by one."

Turnovers and missed chances hurt the Warriors in the third quarter. They missed three straight shots on one possession then missed two consecutive shot jumpers on another possession. Tarboro took advantage of the missed Warrior shots and turned them into points. North Edgecombe turned the ball over four times and three were on consecutive possessions in the quarter. The Warriors battled back through their mistakes and cut into the Vikings lead a little at a time. As time was expiring to end the third quarter, Ronyell McDowell hit a basket at the buzzer to tie the game at 44-44.

After Tarboro missed four straight free throws to start the quarter, the Warriors took advantage of that and scored on a Cooper layup and then Rontarious Graham hit one of two free throws to give North Edgecombe a 47-44 lead. Maliek Hudson hit a jumper for Tarboro, then Quentin Roberson hit two of four from the free throw line to give Tarboro a 48-47 lead with 5:20 left. The Vikings then went on an 8-0 run and the Warriors weren't able to play catch up the remainder of the game.

Kelvin Jones led the Vikings with 19 points, while Roberson added 14 and Hudson chipped in 13.

North Edgecombe had their scoring spread out. They had five players to score at least seven points or more. Graham led them with 11 and Jalen Deans added 10.

Savage still has players that don't want to listen to instructions coming from him or the coaching staff and he said that has turned into a big problem.

"We are going to fix that problem and take care of it with discipline in practice," Savage said. "We made some very crucial mistakes even though we won. We want to correct the mistakes but some of the players act like they don't want the mistakes fixed so we are going to fix them ourselves."

Savage said he did see a few positives, because a couple of players were tough on the boards and battled for him.

Lady Vikings 56

Lady Warriors 50

Despite turning the ball over 22 times Friday night the Tarboro Lady Vikings were able to hold and defeat the North Edgecombe Lady Warriors 56-50. This is the second time this season the Vikings have defeated the Warriors.

"I thought we started out well clicking on almost all cylinders then in the second quarter we let up and let them back into the game," Tarboro head coach Jamie Willoughby said. "We had some turnovers and took some shots we shouldn't have taken. We stepped it up in the fourth quarter and pulled out the win."

Tarboro was led by A'Jah Williams who scored 15 points, Nyasha Savage who added 12 and Lisa Jones who chipped in 11.

Both teams were plagued with foul trouble most of the game. Tarboro had three starters in foul trouble from the middle of the first quarter on and the Warriors had to sit Marquisha Tucker during the third quarter and most of the fourth because of foul trouble. She finished the game with nine points and grabbed nine rebounds and had three blocked shots.

Tucker has been a bright spot for the Warriors all season, but without her presence on floor in third quarter, the Vikings took advantage of that and pulled away from the Warriors.

"It hurt us in the third quarter when I had to sit Marquisha because of foul trouble," Warriors head coach Marion King said. "When I put her back in she did some real good things for us. It just wasn't enough to help us pull out the win."

After taking a 28-22 lead into halftime, the Warriors bounced back and went on a 4-0 run to start the third quarter and forced Willoughby to take a timeout. After the timeout, Jones was called for a foul and then slapped the floor and received a technical foul. She had to sit, which gave the Warriors better inside ability and advantage over Tarboro.

After that, Warriors forward, Kayla Booth began to heat up for the Warriors. She hit two baskets and then Tarboro mounted a run of their own. The Vikings went on an 8-0 run and forced King to take a timeout. After the timeout, North Edgecombe closed out the quarter on a 5-2 run behind Booth and trailed 41-33. Turnovers hurt the Warriors in the third quarter. They turned the ball over 12 times which led to 10 Viking points. They turned the ball over 32 times in the game.

The Warriors failed to get back on defense in the third which also was easy for Williams to capitalize on easy layup chances and score most of her points.

"We have to learn how to get back on defense and play our style of ball," King said. "We had some mental break downs in spurts but then we fought back and got back in the game and then we turned the ball over again. I have told them all season that we have to get back on defense."

Tarboro started the fourth on a 5-0 run, but the Warriors would battle back. After a Booth layup with 1:58 left to play, the Vikings took control from there and wouldn't let up.

"We had some players step in and played well for us," Willoughby said. "We did the little things and rebounded the ball. We played well overall."

Booth led the Warriors with 15 points, while Chelsea King added 12 and Shanika Scott contributed 10.

Tarboro is back in action Tuesday when they host North Pitt to open up Eastern Plains Conference action. The Warriors hit the road and travel to play at Kipp Pride in their Tar-Roanoke Confernece opener.