PINETOPS – The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars hit a dry spell in the final three quarters Tuesday night against the Kinston Vikings in Eastern Plains Conference action. The Cougars couldn't find a way to get a shot to fall for them as they shot poorly from from the floor. The Vikings went on to rout the Cougars 73-40.
"Kinston is great all around team," Cougars head coach Anthony Burns said. "They play well on both ends of the floor and we couldn't seem to find a way to score."
Anthony Coley and Javine Hinton have been the spark plugs for the Cougars all season, but Tuesday they just couldn't buy a basket. Coley scored 10, while Hinton only was able to add three. The two are averaging over 34 points a game between the them.
"Their defense was phenomenal because they shut us down on the offensive end of the court," Burns said. "They just put all kinds of pressure on their opponents. I just don't have an answer for it - all I know is they are an amazing team who plays well together."
The Cougars were able to maintain control of the ball and only turned it over 19 times, but couldn't maintain the Vikings offensive production.
Kinston had four players in double figures in scoring. Josh Dawson led the way with 17, while Anthony Lopez and Denzel Keyes added 16 and 15 respectively.
"Their offense is amazing, because they have a lot of length inside," Burns said. "They find a way to score on almost every possession and have a deep bench."
Burns was pleased with his teams overall performance considing they were playing one of the top teams in the state and said they didn't quit the entire game no matter how tired they were.
"We didn't quit and we didn't fight among ourselves and that is a positive," Burns said. "It just isn't much you can do against Kinston."
Kinston used an advantage that most teams don't seem to have at any juncture in a game. They rotated five players in and five players out the entire game and kept fresh legs on the floor at all times, which was the main reason they were able to put the defensive pressure on the Cougars.
SouthWest also struggled from the free throw line, where they shot just 47 percent and were 10-21.
The Cougars were able to hang around early on in the first quarter. They traded early baskets with the Vikings throughout the majority of the quarter, but when Burns had to substitute some of his starters out, Kinston took advantage of that and closed the quarter out on an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 21-10 as Keyes hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The second quarter was the downfall for the Cougars. They only scored four points in the quarter and Kinston put a 10-1 run together to close out the half and had a 38-14 lead at halftime.
"It is had to play against a team like that because we don't match with them all the way down the bench," Burns said. "It doesn't matter how you look at it – if you sub or not Kinston was going to go on those big runs."
Burns said his team will be able to bounce back from the loss and regroup at practice the next two days and will be prepared for Greene Central Friday.
"We will regroup and get back to work the next two days," Burns said. "We are not going to let this loss get us down, because we have bounced back from losses before."
Lady Vikings 60
Lady Cougars 29
The Kinston Lady Vikings used their man-to-man pressure full court defense in the first half to shut the SouthWest Edgecombe Lady Cougars down and forced them to turn the ball over 16 times in half, which led to 15 Viking points. Kinston went on to blow out the Cougars 60-29.
"I think we played better tonight then we did last game," Cougars head coach Sandra Langley said. "The hardest thing for us is we are struggling to score and aren't able to break the press."
Langley knew coming into the game that her team was going to have to play up to the challenge, because she knew that Kinston was going to press her Cougars and force them to turn the ball over.
"We knew exactly what they were going to do against us," Langley said. "We knew they were going to be a good all around team. Our biggest problem right now though is finding someone to score for us."
Sophomore Montana York led the way for the Cougars with 12 points.
Kinston was able to use their length inside and were able to spread their scoring attack out. They had three players score 42 of their points, which the majority of them came on the inside. Kinston's height advantage also played a big part in the rout.
Langley was pleased with her team's overall performance because of the turnover situation. She said they cut down on the turnovers and were able to beat the press more then what they had been doing as of late.
She said she will go back to work with her team the next two days and prepare for the Greene Central game.
SouthWest travels to Snow Hill Friday to play the Greene Central Rams in conference action.