Plymouth happy to be back in regionals
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Assistant Sports Editor
GREENVILLE -- Despite losing four starters off last year's Class 1-A state runner-up team, Plymouth coach Chris Cherry isn't the least bit surprised his Vikings are back in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Eastern Regional tournament.
Cherry's Vikings, the Four Rivers Conference's No. 2 seed, return to Minges Coliseum on the campus of East Carolina University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to face Wallace-Rose Hill, the Super Six Conference champions. The other regional contest pits Four Rivers Conference regular season champion Perquimans against Tar Roanoke Conference champion Northampton East. The 1-A Eastern Regional championship game will be Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Vikings (25-2), winners of 11 straight and the Four Rivers Conference tournament champions, came close last season. In its first trip to the state championship game, Plymouth fell 63-58 to Mount Airy.
Leading the Vikings to the championship game were Donald Norman, Kevin Nixon, Marvin Jackson, Terrance Jackson and Damien Linson. From that group, where the team finished with a 25-3 mark, Linson was the only underclassman.
Though Plymouth did play in the state championship game last season, only a handful saw much playing time. Linson scored 11 points, Anthony White three and Travis Fuller two in the title game.
Being the state runner-up means everybody around the state knows about Plymouth. Did that put more pressure on the team to succeed this season?
That was evident during Plymouth's last two tournament games, a 70-56 win at Camden for the sectional championship and an 84-56 win at North Brunswick at loud, packed gymnasiums.
Linson, the senior leader, has been monstrous in the tournament. The state's all-time leading receiver in a handful of categories, who will play at Central Michigan University next year, has shown that he's just as good on a basketball court. Linson is averaging 18 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and seven steals in the tournament.
Brandon Carter, a junior who missed the team's tournament-opening 72-52 win over Jones Senior, is averaging 22.5 points and nine rebounds in the tournament. Junior center Joshua Armand is coming up with 11 points and nine rebounds per game. White is averaging nearly 11 points, while Fuller is ripping down nearly 11 boards a contest.
The bench has also played a big factor, accounting for 46 points in the tournament.
That they do.