The Tarboro Lady Vikings senior class was destined not to lose in the first round of the NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs Monday. Senior Nyasha Savage scored a team-high 17 points and watched eight of her teammates contribute offensively as the No. 5 seeded Vikings defeated the No. 12 seeded Manteo Lady Redskins 53-51.
Nerves and anxiety played havoc on the Vikings (15-8) early on. In the first three and half minutes of the game, they missed eight layups and three jump shoots within five feet of the basket. They were able to overcome their struggles after a rough first quarter and score 48 points in the final three frames.
"It took us almost four minutes to score and I don't know if that was anxiety or nerves and that caused us to rush things," Tarboro coach Jamie Willoughby said. "But we missed some wide open layups and easy shots and to come back and score 53 points that says something."
Tarboro saw a 15-point lead evaporate in the second half as Manteo made three runs to get back into the game and forced Willoughby to call a timeout with her team up by four, with just over three minute left in the game.
"I wanted to make sure they knew we were still up," Willoughby said. "We were taking some jump shots we didn't need to take. I felt like they couldn't guard us half court, man-to-man and if we were patient, then we could make some layups like we did earlier in the second half."
With 12 seconds left in the game, Tarboro watched Manteo's McKenzie Westcott catch a pass outside the 3-point line and drain a 3-pointer to tie the game at 51-51.
For the complete story, see today's print edition of The Daily Southerner.