Flyers Pick Up Region 10 Win
Next Wednesday’s game at Davidson County is a very big deal for the 3-year-old men’s basketball program at Sandhills Community College.
The Flyers (16-4) will be playing for sole possession of first place in Region 10 against a 20-0 Storm squad that is No. 1 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Div. III rankings.
Before making the trip to Lexington, they have a 2 p.m. non-league home date against Catawba Valley on Saturday. Coach Aaron Denton’s squad will be working on eliminating some of the easy baskets in transition and off cuts to the hoop that forced them to have to come from behind to defeat Central Carolina CC 96-84 on Wednesday.
“In terms of what it means to our program, we finished last and next to last in the conference our first two years and now we’re undefeated (3-0) and playing for first place,” Denton said after Wednesday’s game. “I told the kids it doesn’t get any better than that. Doggone, three years into the program and having a chance to play for that on Wednesday is huge.”
Before the largest Flyers crowd of the season at The O’Neal School’s Tate Gymnasium, Dre Huntley provided the spark for a 22-5 second half Flyer run. Former Pinecrest star Phillip Moultrie put on a powerful inside performance that included 29 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Two other former Patriots, Hilary McLaurin and Daquain Towns, were also double figure scorers, adding 19 and 14 points respectively.
Neither Denton nor Huntley felt the Flyers were caught looking ahead, but the team from Sanford was a half a step ahead of them much of the way. The 5-foot-4 Huntley came off the bench to the rescue several times.
“That’s my role,” the Forest Hills High School product said. “I have to bring energy off the bench whether we’re down or up.”
Trailing 19-7, seven minutes into the game, Towns scored eight quick points to get the home team going. After that spree, Huntley went coast to coast for a layup that cut the deficit to 25-21. Clay Thorne drained a three, from Huntley, and then the Flyer guard drove for two more. A tip for two by Moultrie gave the Flyers their first lead of the game at 28-27.
Making 18 of their 37 field goal attempts in the first half, the Cougars (8-10) left the court at halftime leading 45-40. A jumper from the side by Moultrie put the Flyers back in front at 50-49, but an 11-0 run by the Cougars set the stage for the decisive Huntley-triggered rally.
“I personally look to Dre when we’re down, because he’s like lightning up and down the court,” McLaurin said. “He comes in and speeds things up faster and faster, and I like that.”
The mercurial one stole the ball and took it in for the basket that tied the game at 61-61. Moments later he fed Raheem Jolliffe for a bank shot that made it 65-61. The lead was extended to six points after another Huntley steal led to a pair of free throws by Moultrie. Two threes by McLaurin made it a double-digit advantage and the Cougars never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Huntley finished the night with six points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. The Flyers limited the Cougars to 13 field goals on 45 attempts in the second half while going 20 for 42 at their end.
“Because of his stature, Dre has probably always had a challenge,” Denton said. “But he took the game on himself tonight and said I’m going to get it done. It’s pretty amazing what he’s done.”
For the Flyer coach, there are things to work on before his team faces Davidson away, and then at home, over a two week period.
“We’ve been playing sporadically and you can’t play in spurts and beat really, really good teams,” he said. “I credit them (Central) for bringing it to us, but we’ve got to close that gap between now and next Wednesday.”
The Flyers led Davidson by as many as 15 points before losing a 94-92 heart-breaker at home last February.
“We want to beat Davidson so we’ll be in first, and they’ll have to catch up with us,” Huntley said.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCC 96, Central Carolina 84
CCCC 45 39 84
SCC 40 56 96
Central Carolina — Van Ellis 5 6-8 16, Brown 5 2-2 12, Overstreet 1 0-1 2, Spinks 7 3-4 19, Newby 1 0-0 2, Williams 6 1-2 15, Clegg 5 4-8 14, Battle 1 2-2 4. Totals 31 18-27 84. Sandhills — McLaurin 5 5-6 19, Moultrie 11 7-11 29, Thorne 2 0-4 6, Elliott 1 4-5 6,Houpe 3 0-0 6, Collins 0 0-0 0, Jolliffe 3 2-2 8, Towns 5 4-4 14, Huntley 3 0-0 6, Cole 0 0-0 0, Toney 0 0-0 0, Lotharp 0 0-0 0, Ewing 1 0-0 2. Totals 34 22-32 96. Three-point goals – (CC) 4 (Spinks 2, Williams 2); (SH) 6 (McLaurin 4, Thorne 2).
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