Vikings to take on Seahawks for tourney title|Plymouth knocks of Knights

Published 2:36 am Friday, February 18, 2011

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — Plymouth’s height advantage, combined with some timely shooting and clutch defense helped carry the Vikings to a 55-52 win over Riverside in the second round of the Four Rivers Conference tournament on Thursday.
With the win, the No. 3 Vikings (14-4) advance to the championship round of the tourney tonight where it will face the regular season champions Southside, who are the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The game will tip-off at 6 p.m. at Riverside High School.
Riverside rode a hot second quarter to take a 33-27 lead into halftime. Freshman Jalyn Brown was outstanding for the Knights all game long and her 11 first-half points helped her team jump out on Plymouth. Brown was the only Riverside player to score over 10 points and finished the contest with a game-high 18.
Both the Vikings and the Knights are young, upstart teams whose play was streaky throughout Thursday’s game. Plymouth starting lineup features four sophomores and one freshman, while the Knights starting five consists of a senior, a junior, two sophomores and a freshman.
On Thursday, Plymouth’s rising star tandem of center Kristy Gibson and guard Desire Chesson teamed up to score a combined 32 points (16 each) to anchor the Vikings.
Plymouth coach Kerry Baldwin said the play of his frontcourt was key against the smaller Knights.
“We started hitting the boards in the second half,” Baldwin said. “Kristy Gibson came out in the second half ready to play.”
After falling behind the first two quarters, Plymouth came out on fire in the third and reclaimed the lead thanks to a 20-11 run.
“The key was to not let the girls get down on themselves early … because I knew we have what it takes to come back,” Baldwin said. “There are a lot of teams that we can press on, but to beat them we had to go inside.”
Riverside coach Hughes Barber felt his team’s lack of production in the paint late in the game was too much to overcome.
“I thought the biggest difference was in the first half we did a good job on the glass and in the second half they killed us,” Barber said. “They got three, four, five chances down the court every time.”
A put-back basket by Plymouth’s Tenisha Hines gave the team its largest lead of the game at 51-44 with 4:51 left in the fourth. The scrappy Knights battled back, and after two Brown free throws, they trailed 54-52 with 1:27 on the clock. The Knights would not score the rest of the game.
Riverside got solid contributions from Queenie Little, Charnell Jones, Jo’Neka Brown and Dasia Moore. Little tallied eight points, while Jones and Brown added six and Moore chipped in seven. Brown also gave a fantastic effort on the defensive end.
Plymouth 16 11 20 8 — 55
Riverside 14 19 11 8 — 52
Vikings (55)
Cooper 7, Hines 9, Kirsty Gibson 16, Smallwood 3, Desire Chesson 16, Clark 2, Biggs 2.
Knights (52)
Moore 7, Jalyn Brown 18, Brown 6, Jones 6, Wynn 5, Little 8, Wilson 2.