Flyers Blast Cougars
Raheem Washington scored 30 points, including seven baskets on dunks, as Sandhills Community College wrapped up the regular season with a 107-60 victory at Central Carolina CC Thursday evening.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore also grabbed 13 rebounds and was credited with five steals. The Flyers take a 23-6 overall and 6-2 conference mark into a Region X semifinal game against Davidson County Community College held at Catawba Valley CC in Hickory on Saturday, March 2.
An announcement made earlier in the week by a Region X official that Central Carolina had to forfeit six games because of a player eligibility oversight has adversely affected the Flyers.
That administrative action took away a loss from Caldwell County CC. Instead of finishing conference play in a first-place tie with the Flyers, the Cobras finished 7-1. As the conference champion, that earned them an automatic berth in the district tournament that follows region play as the stepping stone to the national tournament.
Two teams from Region X will advance to district play this year. For the No. 9 in NJCAA Div. III Flyers to have a chance to defend their 2012 NJCAA national title, they will have to defeat Davidson and then either win the Region X tournament or be the runner-up to Caldwell.
“It was a tough deal on all parties,” Flyer coach Mike Apple said after Thursday’s game. “We were looking at being tied for first place and this happened.”
All of that business made the outcome of Thursday’s game against a Cougar squad that had only five available players academic.
After seven minutes of play, the hustling home team trailed by just four points. A put-back by Washington, and a steal by Isaac Lyerly for a dunk by Washington, got the Flyers going and it was never close again.
“I was really pleased with our start,” Apple said. “We came out ready to play basketball. Obviously Central has problems with players and what not. But you can’t not play hard because the other team is at a disadvantage. We did and that’s why it was such an easy game.”
The first basket of the second half came off a steal by Washington for his fifth flush job of the evening. Then a drive for two by Montre’l Cook gave the Flyers their first 30-point lead at 56-26. The final basket of the evening against the exhausted Cougars came on a tip by Chris Vinson.
Mike Cuthbertson put together a double-double that included 10 points and 12 boards. Other stat leaders for the Flyers were Kermeriaz Harrington with 14 points and nine rebounds and T.J. Jones with eight points and seven assists. Julian Harrington led the Cougars with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The Region X tournament begins with a game between Central Carolina and Wytheville CC on Friday. The winner meets Caldwell in Saturday’s other semifinal game.
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