ROCKY MOUNT – Turnovers and second chance opportunities forced the Tarboro Vikings on a downward spiral Wednesday night in Rocky Mount as they were defeated 75-61 by the Northern Nash Knights.
"We got out hustled and out manned is the bottom line," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "That is the main two reasons we lost. We didn't play defense at all."
The defense or lack there of was the main downfall for the Vikings as they allowed the Knights to score 22 points on second chance shots.
"Our rebounding period is terrible and we have to get better at that," Savage said. "Everyone we have played has beat us on the boards."
Tarboro started out fast and took a 6-4 lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter and that was there only lead of the game. From that point on it was all Knights. Northern Nash went on 16-6 run to close out the quarter and led 20-12 after one.
The second quarter began just like the first one finished, all Knights. They started the quarter and put together a 11-4 run and took a 31-16 lead. That forced Savage to take a timeout with 4:05 left before halftime.
During the timeout, Savage, who was obviously frustrated in his teams performance, yelled and told his guys that they needed to pick it up or he would change things around.
Markese Clapp, who was in foul trouble much of the game, responded with a basket, which was the Vikings first one since the 6:26 mark of the quarter. Northern Nash then went on a 6-0 run before the Vikings would score another basket with 1:38 left before halftime. The Knights closed out the quarter on a 4-1 run and led 41-21 at halftime. Tarboro turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and forced the Knights to turn it over 10 times, but Northern Nash took advantage of the Viking miscues and turned them into points.
"I told my guys at halftime that we needed to play defense and box out," Savage said. "They just beat us all over the boards."
Tarboro came out in the third quarter and played with a lack of energy and the Knights continued to pound the boards and scored on second and third chance opportunities. The same thing continued in the fourth and the Vikings were unable to gain any momentum as the Knights were on cruise control.
Tarboro tuned the ball over 28 times in the game and the Knights had 18.
"We just can't continue to play like we played tonight," Savage said. "We are going to make some changes and adjustments to our team."
The changes that Savage was referring to was moving players around to different positions and letting some of the players try to step up and make things happen.
"We are going to work on drills in practice and make these guys work on rebounding the ball," Savage said. "We just have to do some things different because this isn't cutting it and I am not happy at all with our performances defensively."
Savage said the loss has forced him to think about things and he believes his team could have played better then what they played.
"You just can't win when you get pushed around and out hustled," Savage said. "You just can't win games like that."
Lady Knights 67
Lady Vikings 17
In girls action, the Tarboro Lady Vikings turnovers continued to plague them which went right along with not finishing shots once again Wednesday night. Northern Nash defeated Tarboro 67-17. The Vikings drop to 0-4 on the year.
Tarboro head coach Jamie Willoughby was glad her team didn't give up in the game. She was proud of her team for playing through all of the mistakes that they were forced to make.
Tarboro has been able to force teams to turn the ball a lot this season, but they have been unable to finish on the other end of the floor. The Vikings are having trouble making the simple passes and controlling the ball on the offensive end.
Tarboro hit the floor without one of their leaders, Nyasha Savage and it showed. Savage dislocated her finger last week and is out for the week. Without Savage on the floor, the Vikings weren't able to move it around like they have early on in the season. They were forced to make a lot of back court mistakes in the game.
Tarboro was unable to finish shots from the outset of the game. They forced the Knights to turn the ball over 22 times in the game, but could only capitalize them into six points. On the other side, Northern Nash converted the Vikings 31 turnovers into 33 points.
Northern Nash jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Tarboro wasn't able to stop Quadasha Lynch. She scored 19 points in less then three quarters of action. She was able to score from the inside and the outside.
The Vikings trailed the Knights 20-4 after one quarter of play and 10 of the Knights points came off of the Vikings nine turnovers in the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Vikings were only able to score three points, but the Knights again took advantage of the Tarboro miscues and turned them into 16 points in the second quarter.
Quadasha Ruffin hit two early baskets for the Vikings in the third quarter, but the Knights put together an 11-3 run to end the quarter as they led 55-14 after three.
Tarboro scored only three points in the fourth quarter, which all came from the free throw line. Northern Nash was able to push the tempo the entire game and cruised to the victory.
"We have to get back in the gym and get refocused," Willoughby said. "I think most of our problem right now is confidence. We are pressing ourselves too much."
Willoughby went over the game plan for three consecutive days and knew exactly what the Knights were going to do to them, but her team couldn't execute the game plan.
"I feel like we are out there just thinking too much," Willoughby said. "It is just putting more pressure on us when we think like that. It is just more pressure on us then we need because we aren't playing relaxed."
Tarboro will be back in action Friday when they host the North Edgecombe Warriors.