Plymouth gets into second round of state playoffs
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Assistant Sports Editor
PLYMOUTH -- If they didn't know it already, the Plymouth Vikings now realize that getting back to Chapel Hill could prove to be a daunting task.
Plymouth, the Four Rivers Conference's second seed, got an early scare from Jones Senior, the Coastal Plains Conference's fourth seed, on Monday in the opening round of the NCHSAA Class 1-A state playoffs. But the Vikings regrouped at halftime, using a big fourth quarter en route to a 72-52 victory.
The Vikings (23-2), ranked fourth in the latest N.C. Coaches/iHigh.com 1-A poll and winners of eight straight, will travel to North Brunswick on Wednesday. The Scorpions (15-3), the top seed in the Coastal Plains Conference, are ranked ninth in the iHigh.com poll.
A return trip to Chapel Hill, site of the state championship games, seemed in doubt for a while. Plymouth, last year's 1-A state runners-up, led just 32-28 at the half. Chris Brown pumped in 15 of his team-high 17 points to keep the Trojans (10-11) close.
But the Vikings got some big shots from Anthony White (17 points, seven rebounds) in the third. White hit his third and fourth triples of the game, helping to extend Plymouth's lead to 10 at the break.
The Vikings then wore down the Trojans in the fourth, outscoring them 20-10 to blow the game open.
Plymouth jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the opening three minutes of the game, then settled on a 19-10 advantage after one.
Damien Linson (20 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, six steals, one block) had a sweet drive between three defenders that extended Plymouths' lead to 26-14 early in the second. But the Trojans battled back, using a 14-5 spurt to close the half, pulling within 32-28 on a 30-foot trey by Bryan Barber at the horn.
Bryron Ingram (11 points) drilled a triple early in the third to get the Trojans as close as 33-31. But White hit a pair of big triples and Joshua Armand (nine points, 12 rebounds) played strong inside to help push Plymouth's lead to 52-42 after three.
The Vikings broke the game open with a 14-4 run to start the fourth, going up 66-46 on a lay-up by Brandon Biggs (10 points, five steals), then coasted the rest of the way.
The bench played a big factor for Plymouth, accounting for 20 points. Those players had to step up because starter Brandon Carter was out with an illness. Letrell Cherry started in place of Carter and finished with six points, seven rebounds, four steals and a block.
JONES SENIOR (52)
Chris Brown 17, Bryron Ingram 11, Wright Bruinton 11, B. Barber 9, Hill 2, T. Barber 2, Massonburg, Bryant, Bender, Dudley, Norris, Gardner.
Damien Linson 20, Anthony White 17, Brandon Biggs 10, Armand 9, Cherry 6, Wilkins 5, R. Biggs 3, Bryant 2, Fuller.
Jones Senior 10 18 14 10 -- 52
Plymouth 19 13 20 20 -- 72