Vikings, Tigers split heated hoops match
By By Aaron Carpenter, Staff Correspondent
Williamston — The Williamston gym was a’rockin’ and you should have come a’knockin.
Amidst a raucous, almost capacity crowd at Williamston High School last night, the Plymouth Vikings defeated the Williamston Tigers 76-54.
It was in the first half that the action was the hottest, with the lead swinging back and forth between the two teams and Angelo Sharpless entertained the crowd with a spectacular dunk midway through the second quarter along with a few other great plays.
The Vikings were playing a high-pressure, full-court man-to-man defense but the Tigers were able to consistently penetrate and get the ball down low to their scorers, resulting in a 29-26 halftime deficit.
And then came the third quarter. Plymouth came out in a zone defense that made any sort of scoring difficult for Williamston. The Vikings exploded on an 18-2 run over the first five minutes of the third quarter with Sharpless either scoring or assisting on much of it.
Then, over the last minute of the third, it wasn’t the action that was the hottest, it was the tempers.
It started with a technical foul on Williamston’s Eric Smith with 42 seconds left, and ended three seconds of game time later with four more technicals, two to a side, and four ejections. Two of the ejections came for players coming off the bench. Angelo Sharpless and William Hunt were ejected for Plymouth along with Kareem Bell and Derek Everett for Williamston.
The 3rd quarter ended with Plymouth up by 22 and while Williamston continued to play hard, they never got closer than 13 over the last quarter.
With about 2 minutes left, a mass exodus from the stands began, and even Williamston’s cheerleaders left the stands before the final buzzer sounded.
According to Plymouth Coach Darious Lagroon, it was “the key adjustments we made during half-time” that were the key to the win. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming into this game. These schools are so close to each other that you just know the rivalry is big and we’re looking for a similar result when Williamston comes to Plymouth.”
Coach Steve Gilmore of Williamston was unavailable for comment, but Assistant coaches Braxton Peterson and Arthur Goss commented that it “was a surprise when [Plymouth] came out in a zone the second half.” They also echoed Coach Lagroon’s thoughts about the “rivalry being a big thing between these schools that you know each school is going to get up for it.”
Williamston tops Vikings
Before the boys played, the women’s varsity teams battled each other with a markedly different result. Williamston, led by Sophomore Katie Paschal’s 22 points and 10 rebounds, soundly thrashed the overmatched Plymouth squad 62-31.
Junior Equalia Vines also had a double-double for the Lady Tigers and the whole team got in on the action as Coach Jimmy Elks used his entire bench over the course of the game.
After a tie score of 5-5 in the 5th minute, the Lady Tigers went on a 24-4 run over the next eight and never looked back.
The high point for the Lady Vikings came at the close of the 3rd quarter when a three-pointer launched from near mid-court banked off the glass and in as the buzzer sounded. That got Plymouth within 14, but they could only manage 2 more points in the entire fourth quarter.
All in all, it was a little bit of sweet and a little bit of sour on both sides of the Williamston gymnasium last night.