Balanced Flyers Explode Past Titans
The Sandhills Community College basketball team put on a show for its fans at Saturday’s final home game held at The O’Neal’s School’s Bradshaw Activities Center.
The Flyers ran their fast break with speed and efficiency, dunking and three-balling their way to a 124-84 victory over Guilford Tech. Six Flyers scored in double figures, led by Isaac Lyerly with 20 points, including six-for-seven shooting from beyond the arc.
All 13 Flyers, including the seven that were recognized on sophomore day, got into the scoring column. Ranked No. 10 in the latest NJCAA Division III poll, coach Mike Apple’s squad improved to 20-5.
What Apple and the matinee crowd of more than 200 fans had to appreciate as much as the high-flying action was reflected in the 30 assists the team recorded.
“The thing that I like is that we share the ball,” Apple said afterward. “We’re so unselfish. Everybody got touches and everybody got a chance to score. It was real nice.”
Watching as Lyerly’s third trey during a 16-0 run gave the Flyers a 27-12 lead was two-time All-American Germann Bostic. The Scotland County product made a Flyer record nine threes during 50-point and 47-point performances in 2009.
Later in the half, Michael Cuthbertson stole the ball near mid-court and took it in for a dunk that gave the Flyers a 53-23 lead.
Leading 59-31 at the intermission against a Titan squad that had only six players available, Raheem Washington turned a steal into a dunk by T.J. Jones. Seconds later, Jones was the pilferer, feeding Washington for the flush.
Lyerly made two more threes before finally missing one. The Flyers reached 100 points with 6:30 remaining when Demontre Jones split a pair of free throws. The 6-foot-8 freshman went on to match his season-high with nine points to go with six rebounds.
Sophomore Chris Vinson was the recipient of one of seven assists by former South View High School teammate T.J. Gill for the basket that made it 116-76. It gave the 6-2 forward a career-high 12 points after going six-for-10 from the field.
Like all of the Flyers, Vinson loves to run.
“That’s what coach Apple teaches us — to run the floor,” he said. “My main focus is run the floor, play defense and rebound. And when the points come, they come.”
The other leading sharers of the basketball on Sunday were Washington and Montre’l Cooke, with six assists each. The scoring leaders for Guilford Tech were Sean Deniton with 29 points and Deon Platt with 24.
The seven Flyer sophs recognized before the game were Gill, Vinson, T.J. Jones, Washington, Kermeriaz Harrington, Montrell Covington and Devonte Herring.
Tonight the first-place Flyers (4-1) begin a regular-season ending stretch of three Region X Conference road games in a row at Davidson County Community College (19-6, 2-4). The Flyers defeated the Storm 118-97 at home in January.
Snapping at the heels of the Flyers is a Caldwell County CC team (5-2) that has just one Region X game remaining at Wytheville (2-4). The fifth Region X team is Central Carolina CC (2-4).
South View and Cumberland County in general have been good to the Flyers with players like Vinson and Gill, and Lyerly and T.J. Jones from Pine Forest, on this year’s squad. The 2012 NJCAA National Championship team also included four others in Raheem Jolliffe, Trevor Cole and Louis Craft from Jack Britt, and Chris Morrison from Seventy-First.
Vinson credits his high school coach with helping him get to this level.
“Coach Faulk (Nathan) taught us the fundamentals and that’s transferring over here,” he said.
The Flyers played at the beautiful Bradshaw center for the third time this season. Athletic director Aaron Denton announced before the game that the next Flyer home game in the fall will be played at the planned expanded gym at the college’s Dempsey Center.
“We’re so excited about that aspect of it,” Apple said. “We had four or five recruits here today and we’re telling them it’s going to be like this next year.”
The Flyer basketball program was the subject of the lead story in Sunday’s sports section of the Charlotte Observer titled, “Low Budget, borrowed gym — and a rare national title.”
Guilford Tech 31 53 — 84
Sandhills 59 65 — 124
Guilford Tech: Gates 6 2-2 19, Alston 2 0-0 6, Deniton 10 8-8 29, Platt 8 8-10 24, Williams 1 0-0 2, Anukwuem 0 4-4 4. Totals 27 22-24 84.
Sandhills: Vinson 6 0-0 12, Washington 8 0-0 16, Harrington 5 0-0 11, Herring 4 3-4 12, T.J. Jones 5 0-0 11, Gill 0 2-2 2, Lyerly 7 0-0 20, Covington 1 2-2 4, Cotton 3 0-0 6, Cuthbertson 3 0-2 6, Graham 2 3-3 7, D. Jones 4 1-4 9, Cooke 3 1-2 7. Totals 51 12-18 124.
Three-point goals: GT 8 (Gates 5, Alston 2, Deniton); SCC 10 (Lyerly 6, Cotton, T.J. Jones, Herring, Harrington).
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