Flyers Hold Off Riverside
by Charlie Bergmann
Special to The Pilot
Sandhills Community College turned back a talented Riverside Christian Academy prep squad 96-86 in a basketball game played at the old O'Neal School gym Wednesday evening.
Trailing 63-62 with 12:50 remaining in the game, the Flyers, led by freshman Isaac Lyerly, shifted into another gear the Eagles were unable to match. They outscored the team from Lumberton 20-3, sewing up their seventh win in a row.
Lyerly, a shooting guard, came off the bench to score a team-high 21 points, 12 of them coming in the final 11 minutes of the game. The No. 7 in NJCAA Division III Flyers take an 18-3 and 3-0 Region X record into Saturday's 3 p.m. conference game at home against Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (4-8, 2-1).
"I had to bring energy because sometimes the starters are down on themselves and not doing too well," Lyerly said. "I have to help them pick it back up."
With strong forward Demontre Jones contributing nine first-half points off the bench, the Flyers led by as many as 11 points before the Eagles closed the gap to 47-46 at the intermission. Later, seven points in a row by Keith Shivers gave the visitors their 63-62 lead.
Lyerly put the Flyers back in front for good with a drive for two points. After a basket by Juwan Jones, Lyerly passed to Raheem Washington for a dunk in transition.
Midway through the run, Montre'l Cooke fed Lyerly for a basket. Things began unraveling for the Eagles. Clearly enjoying himself now, Lyerly drained a three and scored on a tip. Then he threw a lob to 6-foot-2 Tevin Graham, who elevated to throw down a thunderous dunk, making it all of a sudden 82-66 with just over six minutes remaining.
A graduate of Sun Valley High School near Monroe, Graham has started at forward for the Flyers in recent games. The freshman was asked if he had a name for the spectacular flush.
"I'll call my dunk 'Flight 11,'" he said. "That was my high school number, and that's what they called me. I liked it when the gym went crazy."
The closest the Eagles got after that was nine points with just over a minute left in the game.
"I think we played better as a team," Lyerly said, summing up his team's edge over the visitors.
Raheem Washington scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Flyers. Also in double figures was Kermeriaz Harrington with 13 points to go with nine boards. The assist leaders were Juwan Jones with seven and Cooke with five. Lyerly's output included a career-best seven rebounds.
Shivers, who played high school basketball in New York, scored 26 points, and Rakim Lesane, who is from Maryland, added 22 for Riverside.
Earlier this month the Flyers defeated Caldwell 82-74 in a hard-fought game played on the road. The Flyers are No. 2 in Division III in scoring at 96.1 points per game behind No. 4 ranked Eastfield College of Mesquite, Texas at 99.2. Eastfield (19-2) is in the same conference as Cedar Valley CC, the team the Flyers defeated for the national championship last March.
Riverside Christian 46 40 - 86
Sandhills CC 47 49 - 96
Riverside: Lesane 7 7-9 22, Shivers 11 3-4 26, Johnson 3 2-4 9, Core 2 3-5 7, Morehead 0 0-0 0, Griffin 0 0-2 0, Ellison 8 1-4 17, Sanfiel 1 0-0 3, Pena 2 0-0 4, Sanders 0 0-0 0. Totals 34 16-28 86.
Sandhills: Washington 9 2-4 20, Harrington 4 4-6 13, Herring 2 0-0 4, Gill 1 0-2 2, T.J. Jones 3 0-3 6, J. Jones 2 3-4 8, Vinson 2 1-2 5, Lyerly 8 2-2 21, Cotten 0 0-0 0, Cuthbertson 0 1-2 1, Graham 2 0-0 4, D. Jones 4 1-1 9, Cooke 0 2-2 2. Totals 37 16-28 96.
Three-point goals: RS 4 (Lesane, Shivers, Sanfiel, Johnson); SH 6 (Lyerly 3, Harrington, Gill, J. Jones).
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