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Plymouth's run ends with loss

By By RYAN ROCKWELL, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE -- Sometimes you don't really lose, you just run out of time.
Plymouth High School's hoop dreams were dashed by Wallace-Rose Hill Wednesday in the Class 1-A Eastern Regionals, held at Minges Coliseum. The Bulldogs held on for a 85-79 win after the Vikings nearly survived a 20-point deficit near the conclusion of the third quarter.
Wallace-Rose Hill advances to play Perquimans, which beat Northampton-East 76-65, Saturday at 5 p.m.
Led by the tireless play of Brandon Carter and Damien Linson, the Vikes cut the Bulldog lead to one with 1:48 to play. Linson, a senior guard, was nothing short of amazing in the fourth, scoring 11 straight points during a 15-0 Plymouth run.
Linson, who finished with 25, may have been upstaged by Carter, who chimed in with a game-high 33 points (11-of-16 from the field, 10-10 from the foul line) and eight boards.
However, it would be the Bulldogs' night, as Plymouth fell behind 76-71 on back-to-back Donald Tate hoops. Carter answered with an old-fashioned three-point play. The final minute would be back and forth as Carter hit a pair from the charity stripe, following two free ones form Melvin Edwards.
Then, a Linson trey from the top of the key with 37.1 seconds answered a three-point play by J.T. Carr. With the score 81-79 and 37 seconds remaining, the Vikings could not get over the hump, missing their last four shots.
Bulldog big man Greg Moore signed Wallace-Rose Hill's ticket into the regional finals, hitting all four of his free throw attempts in the final 33 seconds.
Moore had 16 points and 16 boards. Tate had a team-high 25 points (10-of-11 free throws) to go along with seven assists.
Tate and the Bulldogs were in attack mode early, breaking the Plymouth full-court pressure to shoot 50 percent in the first half. Plymouth shot 32.4 percent in the first half, hitting 3-for-17 from beyond the arc.
Wallace-Rose Hill, the No. 1 seed out of the Super Six Conference, took a 13-5 lead in a frenetic first quarter on Darrell Dixon's three from the corner. Plymouth shot just 5-for-18 in the first quarter, but sliced into the Bulldog lead as Letrell Cherry's tip-in cut the deficit to five.
However, Plymouth's fifth turnover of the quarter led to a Jeremy Perkins transition hoop. Marquise Murphy added a free throw with 14 seconds to go, giving the 'Dogs a 22-14 lead after one.
Wallace-Rose Hill, the No. 10 team in the state according to N.C. Coaches/iHigh.com poll, continued to break the Plymouth pressure and led 47-34 at the half. Tate scored 15 of his 21 first-half points in the second quarter. Tate was 8-of-9 from the foul line, while the team hit 13-16 from foul stripe.
Carter kept the Vikes' in the game with 17 first-half points.
In the third, Wallace-Rose Hill nearly put the game away, burning the nets and preying on shaky Plymouth shooting.
The Bulldogs (23-4) began the quarter with an 8-2 run. Jeremy Perkins received a perfect set-up from Moore for two, followed by a Moore finish in transition off Dixon's steal and assist. Then, Edwards sunk both foul shots to cap a 6-0 run and put the 'Dogs up 55-36 with 4:57 left in the third. The lead rose to 20, 62-42, as Moore's score inside capped a 7-2 run.
Joseph Newkirk's buzzer-beating tip-in gave Wallace-Rose Hill a 64-46 lead after three quarters of play.
Things didn't get much easier for Plymouth (25-3) in the fourth, as a deep jumper by Cyrus Jamell kept the Bulldogs on top 68-50 with 6:53 to play. But then, slowly but surely, things started to turn around.
Carter drilled a trey, cutting the lead to 14 at 6:03, and then he sandwiched a two-pointer between two Bulldog hoops.
Joshua Armond's putback began a 15-0 run for the Vikings. The Plymouth press that was a non-factor in the first half, forced 20 Bulldog turnovers in the second, most of which came during the fourth.
Linson drilled a trey after a turnover, and then scored two old-fashioned three-point plays -- driving, hanging and finishing near the bucket.
Linson capped his 11-point spurt with a steal at midcourt off Dixon, sailing in for a lay-up and sending the Plymouth faithful into a frenzy. The Vikings trailed 72-69 with 2:43 left.
Things got even more tense with 1:48 left when Cherry hit a pair at the free throw line, making the score 72-71. But Plymouth, which had not led since the score was 5-3, could not get past the Bulldogs.
The Vikings had won 11 straight, reached No. 4 in the iHigh.com poll and finished with a 50-6 record over the past two seasons.
WALLACE-ROSE HILL (85)
Dixon 5, J.T. Carr 13, Donald Tate 25, Greg Moore 16, Jeremy Perkins 12, D. Newkirk, Murphy 1, Edwards 6, J. Newkirk 2, Cyrus 5.
PLYMOUTH (79)
Damien Linson 25, White 2, Brandon Carter 33, Armond 7, Fuller 2, Cherry 5, B. Biggs 5, R. Biggs, Wilkins, Bryant.
Wallace-Rose Hill 22 25 17 21 -- 85
Plymouth 14 20 12 33 -- 79