Plymouth boys wins Four Rivers Conference title
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Assistant Sports Editor
CHOCOWINITY -- Stepping just across halfcourt, Damien Linson lofted the ball high into the air. Moments later, just as the buzzer was sounding, the ball splashed through the net.
Linson, mobbed by his teammates along the bench, used his long-range beauty to give the Vikings a 57-39 lead heading into the final quarter. Linson and his teammates would hug again eight minutes later after beating Perquimans, 70-64, in Friday's Four Rivers Conference tournament championship game at Southside High School.
It's the second year in a row that the Vikings have won the tournament title.
Plymouth (22-2), the No. 2 seed, waited 21 days for the rematch with top-seeded Perquimans (21-4). The Pirates took a 55-54 win at Plymouth on Jan. 30, getting some revenge of their own after the Vikings beat Perquimans on its home floor by a single point.
Plymouth, ranked fourth in the latest N.C. Coaches/iHigh.com Class 1-A poll, held a 34-26 halftime lead. The Pirates, ranked third in the same poll, managed to pull within one early in the third before Linson went on a tear.
The senior, who has signed to play football at Central Michigan in the fall, lit it up for 15 points, helping the Vikings build their 18-point lead.
Despite not playing starting point guard Titus Stepney due to disciplinary reasons, and losing big man Jerrell Foreman to fouls midway through the fourth, the Pirates never gave up.
After getting off to a slow start, going scoreless in the opening 3:21, the Vikings used a 13-0 run to grab a 13-4 advantage. Brandon Carter (25 points, 12 rebounds) scored 10 in the opening quarter, helping Plymouth -- winners of eight straight, to a 17-9 lead.
Perquimans used a 9-2 spurt to begin the second, pulling within 19-18 on a jumper by Terrell Woodard (14 points). But Plymouth responded with an 11-3 run, grabbing a 30-21 lead on a bucket by Joshua Armand (nine points, eight rebounds). Linson scored seven and Carter six in the period, while Shavoris Lewis (17 points, 10 rebounds) had seven to keep Perquimans close.
The Pirates came out hot in the second half, scoring the first seven points to pull within 34-33. After Plymouth went up by five, Foreman (13 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks) unleashed a powerful slam a short time later to make it 38-35.
But the Pirates weren't able to gain any momentum off the flush. Instead, it was Plymouth that responded, using a 19-4 burst to take control of the game. Linson erupted for 11 points in the run.
The Vikings lost their focus a bit with the big lead, and Perquimans took full advantage. Getting six points from Woodard, the Pirates used a 12-2 spurt to pull within 59-51.
Foreman then fouled out at the 3:44 mark, but the Pirates kept plugging away. With William Perry (eight points, eight rebounds) scoring five straight points, Perquimans was able to narrow its gap to 63-57 with 2:26 remaining.
However, Plymouth got a big basket from Armand and some key free throws by Carter and Brandon Biggs down the stretch.
Harris said he believes his Pirates and the Vikings could meet again.
Travis Fuller, who had two points and seven rebounds for Plymouth, said the win will give his team more confidence heading into playoff action. The Vikings begin their quest to make it back to the state championship game on Monday at home against either Topsail or Jones Senior, with a possible trip to North Brunswick on Wednesday to follow.
Fuller was on last year's state runner-up team, and believes this year's team is even better .
Four Rivers Conference Tournament
Boys Championship Game
Damien Linson 25, Brandon Carter 25, Armand 9, Bryant 6, B. Biggs 3, Fuller 2, Cherry, White, Wilkins.
Shavoris Lewis 17, Terrell Woodard 14, Jerrell Foreman 13, J'Sean Wilkins 10, Perry 8, Meadows 2, Billups, Key, Overton.
Plymouth 17 17 23 13 -- 70
Perquimans 9 17 13 25 -- 64