Flyers Knock Off Vance-Granville
After Wednesday’s evening’s 123-46 romp over Vance-Granville CC, Sandhills Community College coach Mike Apple was asked to talk about his team’s “Mad Bomber.”
“Which one?” was the coach’s response. “We’ve got several of them.”
The Flyers scored the first four times they had the ball in the game to take an 11-0 lead. On three of the possessions, sophomore T.J. Gill drained threes. He later added a fourth and finished with a game-high 16 points.
The No. 1 ranked NJCAA Division III team in the nation improved to 5-0 on a night it presented its 2012 National Championship banner at The O’Neal School Gym.
The Flyers sank 10 threes in all with Isaac Lyerly adding three and T.J. Jones making a pair. Jones also accounted for five of the team’s 25 steals against the overmatched Vanguards, now 2-3.
Gill, a product of South View High School, came into the contest just 2-for-9 from beyond the arc this season. He didn’t shoot particularly well in pre-game warmups.
“I’ve been struggling with my shooting, but my teammates have been helping me with my confidence because they know I can shoot,” he said. “Today was really a confidence booster so I hope I can carry it out for the rest of the season.”
A trey by Aaron Johnson put the visitors on the board, but a jumper by Devonta Herring ignited an 18-0 run that climaxed with a dunk by Tevin Graham in transition. That made it 29-3 with over 11 minutes still remaining in the first half.
The six Flyer guards that shared minutes almost equally combined to score 72 points and harassed the Vanguard ball handlers unmercifully.
“It’s a complete effort,” Gill said of the team’s commitment to defend with a passion. “Last year with the national championship we all bought into it. We’re trying to teach the younger guys to play defense like we did, and even better, so we can go back to the national championship.
“There’s a lot of intensity in practice. We push each other and it pays off like it did tonight.”
Apple was pleased with Gill’s contributions on the night.
“T.J.’s a good shooter,” the coach said. “He’s battled a knee problem all year and it’s slowed him down a little. It’s good to see him get his confidence back tonight because there’s not a harder worker in practice every day.”
Other double-figure scorers for the Flyers were Montre’l Cooke with 14 points, Juwan Jones and Lyerly with 13, T. J. Jones with 12, Graham with 11 and Raheem Washington with 10. Stacy Slade led in rebounds with nine. The assist leaders were Herring with six and Raheem Washington with five.
The Flyers are scheduled to meet the Methodist junior varsity team in Fayetteville tonight. The next home game is on Tuesday at 5 p.m. against Wake Tech, a Division II squad that is off to a 5-2 start.
Vance-Granville: Coles 4 3-4 12, Fulcher 1 4-5 6, Gray 3 0-1 7, Martin 1 1-2 4, Johnson 5 0-0 11, Mote 0 2-2 2, Richardson 2 0-0 4. Totals - 16 10-14 46.
Sandhills: Washington 3 4-6 10, Harrington 3 2-2 8, Herring 2 0-0 4, Gill 5 2-2 16, T.J. Jones 4 2-4 12, J. Jones 4 5-6 13, Vinson 2 4-8 8, Lyerly 4 2-2 13, Graham 5 1-4 11, D, Jones 2 0-0 4, Peele 2 0-0 4, Slade 3 0-0 6, Cooke 5 3-4 14. Totals - 44 25-38 123.
Three-point goals: (VG) 4 (Coles, Gray, Martin, Johnson); (S) 10 (Gill 4, Lyerly 3, T.J. Jones 2, Cooke).
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