Flyers Run Win Streak to Four
The Sandhills Community College men’s basketball team put points on the board at a dizzying pace in Saturday’s home opener at The O’Neal School Gym.
The 2012 NJCAA Division III national champion Flyers scored 73 points in the second half on the way to defeating Shooting 4 Greatness Academy (S4G) 129-103. The winners were led by Kermeriaz Harrington with 29 points and T.J. Jones with 22.
Coach Mike Apple’s squad, now 4-0, is back in action at home this evening, entertaining Vance Granville CC. The 2012 championship banner will be presented prior to the 7 p.m. tip-off.
“My goodness, 129 points,” Apple said afterward. “That was an explosion. We’ve got a lot of weapons. I was impressed.”
The prep school from Raleigh had plenty of offensive weapons of its own, but couldn’t keep up with a Flyer squad that ran at every opportunity and shared the ball to the tune of 38 assists on 50 made baskets.
After S4G sharpshooter Jordan Solomon cut the Flyer lead to 18-17 with the second of his five threes in the game, newcomer Issac Lyerly started an 18-4 Flyer run with a drive for two points. The Pine Forest grad, who led Cumberland County in threes last season, then drained one from behind the arc.
Over the next 80 seconds, the Flyers put on a dazzling display of inside passing, including extra looks by the forwards, to increase the margin to 31-19.
Harrington fed fellow-forward Raheem Washington for the first two. Then Lyerly and Harrington exchanged assists with each other in transition for four more points. The sequence ended with Lyerly finding Chris Vinson in transition for another basket.
“One of the things we’ve tried to take pride in is being unselfish,” Apple said. “I thought a couple of times tonight we overpassed. But I was impressed with how team-oriented we are, and that’s what you hope for. Raheem, Kermeriaz and Tony (Peele) are all really good interior passers.”
Early in the second half, S4G guard Devin Spann, who finished with 28 points, cut the Flyer lead to 60-54 with a three-point play. A jumper by Jones and a pair of free throws by Harrington ignited a 13-0 run that peaked on a tip-in by Washington. The home team maintained at least a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
The Flyers made 62.5 percent of their shots from the field and 77 percent of their free throws. Harrington was 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Other double-figure scorers were Washington, 16, Lyerly, 15, and Peele, 11. Led by Purnell Swett grad Juwan Jones with eight, 12 Flyers were credited with at least one assist.
Missing the presence of inside players from last year like Louis Craft, who started in Fayetteville State’s opener on Friday and contributed four points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, this Flyer team will have to get the job done in other ways.
Returnees like T.J. Jones, Washington, T.J. Gill and Vinson have been helping Apple and assistant coaches Tony Chapman and Wilson McWilliams get the newcomers oriented.
“Because of the success we had last year, they listen,” T.J. Jones said. “If they don’t know the plays, we show them where to go. They’re picking it up real quick.
“We’ve got a lot of guys on the bench that are energized and ready to shoot. We don’t have guys like 6-10 Louis Craft so we can’t bang like we did last year. When you score 129 points, you’re getting up and down the court pretty quick. We like our chances right now.”
Lyerly, a teammate of Jones when both were at Pine Forest, was asked what impresses him the most about his new team.
“Their heart,” he said. “The guys have a lot of heart. And everybody knows their strengths and weaknesses on the court.”
The scores of the Flyers first three wins were 116-80 over Germanna CC (Va.), 98-85 over Southside CC (Va.) and 103-75 over Rockingham CC.
S4G: Miller 5 5-7 16, Pollard 2 1-2 5, Harney 2 0-0 4, Spann 8 12-13 28, Riley 3 5-6 11, Smith 3 0-0 8, Bond 0 2-2 2, Williams 1 0-0 2, Solomon 5 1-2 16, Tharp 4 0-0 8 Totals — 34 26-32 103.
SCC: Washington 8 0-0 16, Harrington 10 8-8 29, Herring 3 3-4 9, Gill 0 2-2 2, T.J. Jones 8 3-3 22, J. Jones 2 1-2 5, Vinson 1 0-0 2, Crowell 2 1-3 7, Lyerly 6 0-0 15, Graham 4 1-1 9, D. Jones 1 0-0 2, Peele 5 1-3 11, Cooke 0 0-0 0. Totals — 50 20-26 129.
Three-point goals: (S4G) 9 (Solomon 5, Smith 2, Miller, Willliams); (SCC) 9 (T.J. Jones 3, Lyerly 3, Crowell 2, Harrington).
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