A lack of energy and a massive amount of turnovers were just two of the Tarboro Vikings problems Tuesday night when the high powered Kinston Vikings came in for an Eastern Plains Conference showdown. Tarboro was out of sink from the opening tip-off. Kinston defeated Tarboro 75-23.
"Kinston is a really good team and are a tough team to beat," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "It just wasn't a pretty site to watch with the way they beat us. We have to get better or things will not change."
Savage said he saw the outcome of the game Monday during practice, because most of his players had fear in their eyes knowing that they had to play Kinston.
"I told them after practice that we can't approach a game scared and in fear already," Savage said. "You just can't play as a team and have a chance to win when things like that happen on the day before the game."
The third problem for Tarboro was Kinston big man Denzel Keyes. He dominated the offensive glass on missed Kinston shots and was there to give them second and third chance opportunities. He scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, which seven came on the offensive end of the floor.
Tarboro struggled from the beginning. They turned the ball over five times during their first nine possessions. The only bright spot for Tarboro in the first two quarters was freshman Toney Gregory. He scored six of Tarboro's nine first half points. Mid way through the second quarter, Savage took Gregory out of the game and walked down to the end of the bench and told him that he couldn't play while he was frustrated. The entire Tarboro team seemed to be playing in frustration throughout most of the game.
"Toney was out there getting frustrated," Savage said. "We are asking a lot of him to come in as a freshman and start big games like this for us. Right now he is the only point guard that we have. I have seen some good in him but he didn't need to be on the floor playing with frustration."
Savage rotated players throughout most of the game to try and find a core group that could play and gel together on the floor. Tarboro couldn't find a groove, because they had people walking back on defense and weren't running their offense. They lost their energy from the outset of the game.
"They just came in here and took all of the energy from us," Savage said. "Once we got down early we held our heads down and didn't recover. We just gave up is what it looked like. A game like this everybody has to play hard – not just one or two players."
Tarboro was missing one of their leading scorers, Maliek Hudson. He wasn't able to play because of a school policy. Hudson didn't attend school for at least a half of a day, because he was signed out early for a family emergency, so by rules, he wasn't allowed to play.
Tarboro was led by Kelvin Jones who scored eight, while Delvin Jones chipped in seven.
Tarboro turned the ball over 35 times which was converted into 28 points for Kinston. Tarboro forced Kinston to turn the ball over 18 times, but didn't score off of a turnover. Tarboro shot 8 of 13 from the free throw line, while Kinston was 14 of 29.
"We can't win a game if we continue to turn the ball over like we are doing," Savage said. "Turnovers and missed shots are hurting us tremendously. We have to get better at those two stats if we want to improve as a team."
The Tarboro Lady Vikings were plagued with turnovers once again, but when you add the 15 missed lay-ups into the equation it hurt them against the Kinston Lady Vikings in conference action Tuesday. Kinston defeated Tarboro 53-23.
Tarboro turned the ball over 25 times, but forced Kinston to turn it over 21 times. Kinston took advantage of Tarboro's miscues and scored 15 points off of the turnovers where Tarboro only scored four.
Tarboro did exactly what head coach Jamie Willoughby wanted them to do game plan wise, but just didn't control the ball like she had hoped.
"I thought we followed the game plan like we had planned," Willoughby said. "Granted, we should have controlled the ball a little better then what we did. The problems feel when we couldn't get shots to fall."
The shots Willoughby is referring to is the 15 lay-ups that Tarboro missed on fast break opportunities and on second chance shots. Tarboro missed six consecutive shots within five feet of the basket during two possessions late in the game.
'We worked hard to get those easy shots, but we just couldn't finish," Willoughby said. "With this team, if we miss those easy shots it starts playing with our minds and then we begin to press ourselves a little bit – we get frustrated because the shots don't fall."
Tarboro had a chance to stay in the game early on and play with Kinston, but the careless mistakes and easy missed baskets hurt them.
Tarboro played with Kinston during the first quarter and only trailed 12-7 after one, but in the second quarter, Kinston began their full court press atack and that caused problems for Tarboro. They committed 10 turnovers in the second quarter which led to nine Kinston points. Tarboro only scored five points in the quarter and trailed 27-12 at halftime.
The lack of making shots continued in the third quarter, because Tarboro only scored seven points in that quarter and trailed 39-19 after three. Kinston went on two, 6-0 runs in the fourth and blew the game open.
Nyasha Savage led Tarboro with seven points, while Quadasha Ruffin added six and Lisa Jones chipped in five.
Willoughby thinks her team is coming around and says it is just going to take time. "We are mixing people in and out to see what will work,' WIlloughby said. "I think that may have affected us some, because some of those are not use to playing on the floor at the same time as others."
Tarboro will be back in action Friday when they travel to Wilson to play the Beddingfield Bruins.