The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


January 31, 2013

Vikings struggle against Jaguars


TARBORO — A strong performance by sophomore Deantonie Exum-Pippen was what Tarboro Vikings head coach Craig Savage had been looking for all season from his young center. Exum-Pippen scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but it just wasn't enough to defeat the second place power Farmville Central Jaguars. The Jaguars defeated the Vikings 72-59 in Eastern Plains Conference action Wednesday night. Tarboro falls to 4-15 overall and 1-6 in conference action.

"Deantonie played a good game for us tonight," Savage said. "He was big on both ends of the floor and controlled the boards when he had the chance."

Tarboro had been struggling this season with inside presence, but Exum-Pippen came alive and gave his team a big lift. He scored eight points on second chance shots, which is something Tarboro had been lacking all season.

Savage rotated players in and out of the game the majority of the first three quarters, just like he did Monday. He found a core group of five players late in the third quarter and he stuck with them the remainder of the game as they tried to make a comeback. Their comeback fell short, because they were unable to capitalize on lay-ups and free throws down the stretch as they became tired.

"Like I told the guys after the game, if we play with that type of intensity the rest of the season or even in this game the outcome could've been different," Savage said. "We have to find a way to get the guys to play a four quarter complete game."

At one point in the fourth quarter, Tarboro had cut a 23 point Jaguar lead down to nine. After that, Savage called a timeout, but Farmville Central came out of the timeout and went on a 10-0 run and never looked back.

"I told the guys to continue to fight because we were in the game," Savage said. "They just couldn't convert the shots towards the end."

Savage made the transition early this week to try and find players who could rotate in and out together that would work and he seemed to have found what he was looking for.

"It is a reason why I leave a group on the floor to play but I think rotating players has worked," Savage said. "We have guys who are fresh coming off of the bench when we rotate every so many minutes."

Freshman point guard Toney Gregory had another stellar performance during the first half, but never saw the floor in the second. Savage said discipline issues kept Gregory on the bench the remainder of the game. Another key player who gave Savage some strong minutes was Rayvonte Braswell. He is a new addition to the team, playing in just his second game this season. He just became eligible after the first semester was completed where he was ineligible to start the season.

"Rayvonte gave use some big minutes," Savage said. "I wasn't sure if he was in good enough condition to give us those minutes, but he was able to help us on the boards."

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