Vikings are regional-bound

Published 11:05 am Sunday, February 25, 2007

By Staff
YEATESVILLE — In the first three quarters of playoff action Saturday, it didn’t look like the Plymouth girls had enough stuff to take them much further. As luck would have it, the Gates County squad looking to pass up Plymouth couldn’t overcome a plague of shots not falling.
Both teams, physically drained from a grueling state playoff schedule, struggled through the NCHSAA Class 1-A sectional championship game Saturday.
In the fourth quarter the Plymouth girls found their reserves and turned a tight game against the Red Barons into a rout.
The Vikings scored 14 unanswered points in the final period, coming from behind to win, 40-27.
Gates just couldn’t find the basket in the fourth, hampered by the loss of star player Destinee Hurdle who fouled out early in the second half. Hurdle exited the game with nine points in three quarters.
A sluggish Plymouth club was a step behind offensively for much of the game, but was able to keep it close with sound defensive play and by brutalizing the lady Barons on the boards.
Vikings point guard Sakina Brown led the team’s offense, spin-moving her way to 11 points, while Khadija Young put up a defensive wall against Gates, batting down six shots in four quarters of play.
Hooker said the club was down and “a little bit extended” from its tough third round match-up against Southeast Halifax.
The Atlantic Conference’s top-seeded Plymouth (19-2) will go on to play in Thursday’s regionals as the NCHSAA Class 1-A State Playoffs continues.
Weldon Chargers (22-3), the top seed in the Tar Roanoke conference, also advanced to the regionals with a 41-36 win Saturday over conference rival Northampton-East (7-15), seeded fourth.
Regionals will be held at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville.
Gates County (15-10), the top seed from the Albemarle Conference, started out with a lead over the Vikings before tip-off. Plymouth was called for a technical foul for not having its lineup recorded.
Those two free throws would be the Red Barons only score of the quarter. A pair of Viking scores gave Plymouth a 4-2 edge going into the second quarter.
It would be a short lived lead. Soon, the Barons found the energy to mobilize an 8-0 run in the second period to take the lead and maintain it for much of the quarter. But with under a minute left, the Vikings’ Whitney Stokes took charge and rallied back to tie the game — briefly.
On the next play, a big Baron three pointer gave the lead back to Gates County going into the second half. It was the only three pointer of the night.
The Barons were led by Jalissa Bradley, who scored 8 of her 11 points in the second quarter sweep when the Vikings were still trying to find their sea legs.
Plymouth kept the game close, but Gates had just enough oomph to hold onto a single-digit — often no larger than a single point — lead.
With 4:14 to play in the third period, Brown, carrying the Vikings on her back, tied the game 20-20 at the line. Plymouth passed on several opportunities to take the lead but raged on even when the game slowly seemed to slip beyond Viking reach.
A game-high lead of five was trimmed back down to a point with a 4-0 Viking run going into the final period, 8 minutes that were all Vikings and all the team needed to claim the sectional title.
Plymouth 4 11 11 14 — 40
Gates County 2 16 9 0 — 27
Plymouth (40)
Sakina Brown 11, Stokes 9, Dance 8, Young 6, Sutton 4, Jones 2.
Gates County (27)
Jalissa Bradley 11, Hurdle 9, Parks 5, Goodman 2.