SCC Flyers Roll Past Hines Prep
Sandhills Community College’s 106-60 victory over Hines Prep on Thursday was not particularly notable in the scheme of things, but it was a huge deal for Montrell Covington.
Playing for the first time in 15 days, coach Mike Apple’s squad shook off some cobwebs before taking command with a 26-2 run midway through the first half.
Raheem Washington led the home team with 23 points. Kermeriaz Harrington contributed 14 points and 20 rebounds. Isaac Lyerly added 17 points, including five threes.
The Flyers (13-3) were scheduled to open Region X conference play at Caldwell Community College (2-5) on Saturday afternoon.
Seeing his first action as a high school or college basketball player, Covington, a Pinecrest graduate, came off the bench to score two points while grabbing five rebounds, blocking a shot and handing out an assist.
“You’re talking about a great story right there,” said Apple, who was the basketball coach at Pinecrest through 2010 when Covington graduated. “The coach at Pinecrest cut him every year, which is Mike Apple. Sure enough, when I get the job over here, Montrell is over here.
“He wanted to practice with us last year. This year I told him there probably isn’t going to be a jersey for him. When some of the guys didn’t do what they needed to do in the classroom and what not, a jersey opened up and he took care of his opportunity and got to play.”
The Flyers missed their first 10 shots from beyond the arc and found themselves trailing the undersized and out-manned team from Charlotte 13-10 after eight minutes of action. A baseline drive and dunk by Washington got the big run going.
Most of the damage was done in transition, but two threes by Lyerly and one by T.J. Gill really opened the floodgates. Late in the half, a Covington finish on the fast break made it 47-20.
“I hadn’t done this in a long time because I really didn’t get the opportunity to play at Pinecrest,” the 6-foot-2 guard said. “I was a little nervous, but other than that it was good.”
Harrington, who is 6-7, finished the first half with eight points and 15 rebounds.
“It felt kind of different,” he said of the team’s unaccustomed size advantage. “I’m not used to going up against maybe 6-4 and under. There is usually at least a 6-6 out there.”
T.J. Jones and Devonte Herring helped keep the Flyer transition game going in the second half. The lead topped out at 102-49 on a free throw by Washington before the clock mercifully wound down.
“You want to play to get better,” Apple said. “When we had that little swoon in December (three losses in a row) we hadn’t gotten to the point where we were getting better. This game gave us another chance to get ready for Caldwell and conference play on Saturday. It’s a huge game.”
For Covington, who traveled with the team during its national championship run in New York last March, the game was a lot more than a warm-up for conference play. And he demonstrated with his play that he belonged out there.
“Montrell was slow to develop physically and that’s one of the reasons he didn’t get to play in high school,” Apple recalled. “Well he’s developed physically now and he’s athletically as good as we’ve got. He’s behind because he didn’t get that opportunity in high school.
“It says a whole lot about perseverance and a kid doing what he needed to do in order to play. It’s really special for him and it’s really special for me too.”
Hines Prep 20 40 — 60
Sandhills 54 52 — 106
Hines: Cox 5 0-1 13, Davis 3 0-0 8, Hammond 3 0-0 8, Harris 3 2-4 8, Simmons 3 2-2 8, Kennedy 2 0-0 6, McIntire 2 2-4 6, Chesley 2 0-0 5. Totals 23 6-11 60.
Sandhills: Washington 11 1-2 23, Harrington 7 0-0 14, Herring 7 0-0 14, Gill 1 2-2 5, T.J. Jones 4 6-8 14, J. Jones 3 1-2 7, Vinson 2 0-0 4, Lyerly 6 0-0 17, Covington 1 0-0 2, Cuthbertson 3 0-0 6. Totals 45 10-14 106.
Three-point goals: HP 8 (Davis, 2, Hammond 2, Kennedy 2, Chesley, Cox); SCC 6 (Lyerly 5, Gill).
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