The Tarboro Lady Vikings cut down on their turnovers and used their defensive pressure to shut down the North Edgecombe Lady Warriors inside presence Thursday. The Vikings defense helped them cruise to a 54-23 win over the Warriors and helped them advance to the championship game today.
"I thought we played pretty well despite the bad second quarter we had," Vikings head coach Jamie Willoughby said. "We did cut down on the turnovers, but it seems like we still have those unforced turnovers that are still hurting us. We just aren't seeing the ball, because we don't have our heads up."
The Vikings had been averaging over 20 turnovers a game coming into the tournament, but they were able to cut it down and only turned it over 18 times. Tarboro's defensive pressure forced the Warriors to turn it over 32 times which led to 20 Tarboro points.
"Our biggest difference now is defense," Willoughby said. "We are still making mistakes on defense but our intensity is starting to come around. I hope it is turning a corner."
A'Jah Williams led the way for the Vikings with 16 points and Kharlil Perry came to life on the offensive end and had her best game of the season and chipped in 12. Perry has struggled during the beginning of the season and hasn't been able to find her groove on the offensive end of the floor. She wasn't able to capitalize on lay-ups or from the outside. Her shot began to fall for her last night. Willoughby hopes that is a positive sign for the Vikings offensively.
"I was glad to see Kharlil finally have a good game," Willoughby said. "She has struggled some this season. It has been bothering her and I was glad to see her have a good game."
Tarboro's leader scorers Nyasha Savage and Lisa Jones weren't effective in the game. Savage was plagued with foul trouble most of the game and only played four minutes the entire second half. Jones wasn't able to get her shots to fall under the basket, but was a force on the defensive end. She grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
"They’re going to have some off nights and we are just going to have to get some people pick up their slack," Willoughby said. "It was hard for Nyasha to get into a rhythm, because of her foul trouble."
Tarboro's defense was able to shut down the Warriors leading scorers, MarQuisha Tucker and Kayla Booth. They only combined for eight points. North Edgecombe didn't have a player in double figures. They were led by Chelsea King who scored five points. The Warriors also had three players with four points each.
Late in the fourth quarter, Tucker went down with an ankle injury and wasn't able to return. She rolled her ankle after coming down with a rebound. The extent of her injury is unknown.
Tarboro will face the Riverside Lady Knights in the championship game today. They have lost twice to the Knights this season. Once by three points and the second time by double digits.
Willoughby said her team has to cut down on the mistakes against the Knights, because they turn their opponents miscues into easy baskets.
"We have to be able to execute," Willoughby said. "We know they are quick and have a lot of speed. We have to make sure we are ready for the speed and we just have to execute – that is the biggest thing we have to do."
Willoughby is hoping that they will be able to wear the Knights down.
Lady Knights 63
Lady Cougars 21
The SouthWest Edgecombe Lady Cougars were unable to stop the Riverside Lady Knights leading scorers Jalyn Brown and Maria Gaddy. They scored 30 combined points to helped lead the Knights to a 63-21 win and advance to the championship game today.
Brown led the way with 19 points and had seven assist, while Gaddy added 11 and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Lady Cougars had a short bench, because they were missing three players. Two of the players were sick and one had a concussion.
Riverside used their full court press to cause the Cougars difficulty bringing the ball up the floor. SouthWest turned the ball over 44 times and the Knights capitalized off of the miscues and turned them into 32 points.
SouthWest defense forced the Knights to turn it over 26 times, but the Cougars couldn't manage to score in transition off of the mistakes.
SouthWest scored nine points in the first quarter and only trailed the Knights 17-9 after one quarter of play. Riverside turned up the pressure in the second quarter and forced the Cougars to fall apart. The Cougars only took six shots in the second quarter and scored only two points. The Knights were able to take advantage of the Cougars 12 turnovers in the quarter to turn them into 10 points.
SouthWest senior Dawson Gould got into foul trouble early in the first quarter and didn't play in the second.
Riverside used their full court press to open up the third quarter, which forced the Cougars to continue to turn the ball over. That led to easy lay-ups for the Knights. With 5:52 left in the third quarter, Gould was called for her fourth foul and had to sit the remainder of the quarter. Her absence hurt the Cougars on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. They were unable to get any good looks at the basket in the quarter and only scored three points.
Montana York led the way for the Cougars with six points and had three assist. Gould finished with four points and Keychonia Williams added five.
SouthWest will play North Edgecombe in the consolation game at 2 p.m. today, while the Knights will play the Vikings in the championship game at 6 p.m.