The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 10, 2012

Vikings sweep Warriors on hardwood

Van Holland

TARBORO — With both teams coming off of a loss heading into Friday nights action, the Tarboro Vikings took advantage of the North Edgecombe Warriors miscues and turned them into points. The Vikings outmanned the Warriors and defeated them 56-41.

"We played really well considering the performance we had Wednesday night," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "Our shots were falling and things seem to be going our way. We finally rebounded the ball and didn't get out hustled."

Turnovers plagued both teams the entire game, but Tarboro was able to capitalize on the Warriors miscues and the Warriors couldn't take advantage of the Vikings mistakes. Tarboro turned the ball over 28 times and the Warriors had 23 turnovers. The advantage went in the Vikings favor on turnover opportunities, because they turned the mistakes into more points then the Warriors did.

This was only the Warriors second game of the season and they are still trying to find their identity. Their offense was shaky from the beginning, but they stayed focused and continued to play within themselves. They answered their coaches challenge in the second half and picked up the pace and played up to his expectations in the final 16 minutes of the game.

"We picked it up in the second half," Warriors head coach Mike Jones said. "I gave them a defensive challenge at halftime and asked them to come out and be more aggressive in the second half. I wanted them to talk on the court, because we lacked that in the first half."

Jones said his team is still trying to learn each other, because they are a young team with minimal varsity experience. The Warriors only have two returners from last years team.

Tarboro jumped out to an early 18-7 lead to end the first quarter behind stellar performances from Maliek Hudson and Kebronis Bailey. Bailey had six and Hudson added five in the quarter.

In the second quarter Hudson continued his attack on the Warriors defense and added seven  in the second. He finished with 12 points. Tarboro had a commanding 36-12 halftime lead.

North Edgecombe fought back in the second half, but couldn't find a way to stop the Vikings offensive flow. Kelvin Jones heated up in the second half for Tarboro and picked up where Hudson had left off. He scored four points to close out the quarter after he hit a three point basket from the wing and then he hit one of two free throws to close out the quarter. Tarboro led 44-25 after three.

Jones continued to fire it up in the fourth quarter. he took control of the game midway through the quarter and reeled off six straight points which included a three ball from the right wing. Jones finished the game with 16 to lead all scorers.  

Rodney Conyers was the go to guy for the Warriors while he was on the court. He left in the second quarter after cutting his right hand on the goal. He went up to block a shot and his hand got caught in the rim on the way up. He managed to finish the game with 11 points and seven rebounds and had three blocked shots. Ronyell McDowel chipped in nine in the losing cause.

"This was a tough loss for us but we are working to get better everyday and we will get there," Jones said. "I just want these guys to listen and learn as we go."

Savage was happy with his teams win, but he wasn't pleased with their overall play. The Vikings have been battered all season with turnovers and being out rebounded. This was the first game that they were able to out rebound their opponents.

"I am glad for the win but we have to quit making so many crazy mistakes," Savage said. "We have preached turnovers all season long and had just went over it in practice Thursday. These guys need to quit making these careless mistakes. We have to cut down on them. Our passing is careless which is leading to the turnovers. We are trying to be too fancy on the court."

Lady Vikings 43

Lady Warriors 41

The Lady Vikings managed to muster out their first win of the season Friday against the Lady Warriors. Tarboro (1-4) defeated North Edgecombe 43-41, but it wasn't because the Warriors (1-1) didn't have the opportunities to pull away from the Vikings and take the win.

Tarboro is averaging over 20 turnovers a game and it didn't change against the Warriors, because the North Edgecombe forced Tarboro to turn it over 22 times. The Warriors just couldn't capitalize the Viking miscues into as many points as the Vikings did on the Warrior miscues. North Edgecombe turned the ball over 28 times and Tarboro converted them into 21 points where the Warriors only converted the Viking mistakes into 10 points.

"We have spent a lot of time this week just specifically on defense," Tarboro head coach Jamie Willoughby said. "I have tried to work on turning up the defensive intensity and worked on trying to force turnovers. I think working on that this past week was a result of us winning. I am proud that our girls got the win but we still have things to work on."

Willoughby took advantage of the Warriors zone defense and used her post players down inside and flashed them through the middle to get scoring opportunities and it worked. Lisa Jones led the way as she knocked down 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while teammate Quadasha Ruffin added nine points and five boards.

Willoughby was glad for Jones and Ruffin's performances, but she wants to see her team finish the high percentage shots. The shots she is referring to are the numerous lay-ups that were missed and the short jump shots that weren't knocked down.

"I thought overall everyone played hard and played well," Willoughby said. "Hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone and get us in the right direction. We need to build off of this."

MarQuisha Tucker scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Warriors. Kayla Booth also contributed with 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.