Vikings hold off Knights

Published 6:28 pm Saturday, February 25, 2012

Plymouth’s Carl McCray (23) shoots an acrobatic layup while being defended by Riverside’s Tremaine Beach (30) during the Vikings’ 57-48 victory over the Knights in the District Round of the NCHAA 1-A playoffs at Plymouth High School on Saturday. McCray would finish the game with a team-high 23 points. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

PLYMOUTH — All season long Carl McCray has been the driving force for the Plymouth basketball team and Saturday’s district championship game against Riverside would be no different.
With the late-charging Knights trailing by only three and nipping at the Vikings’ heels, McCray stood at the three throw line with 26 seconds left in the game and calmly buried both of his shots to quiet the uprising and help his team capture a 57-48 victory to advance to the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional Round of the playoffs.
McCray would finish the game with a team-high 23 points while sharpshooter Sean Holloway and hard-driving guard Kendrick Pitt each netted 11 to keep the third-seeded Vikings’ (21-4) dreams of a state title alive.
“I’m just so proud of this young group,” Plymouth coach Marvin Davenport said. “They’ve worked hard to get better each day they come to the gym and I’m just so proud of them.”
The No. 10 Knights (19-9) put forth an effort they can be proud of as well as they were lead by 6-8 senior center Marcus Freeman who scored a game-high 24 points. A majority of Freeman’s points came from hanging around the glass and getting put-back buckets and Knights’ coach Bobby Williams said after the game he wished his team could have found more ways to get his star center involved in the offense.
“I thought we settled for too many jump shots,” Williams said. “We got Marcus in the post, we got to get him the ball … When you shoot a lot of outside shots and they go in you look great, but when they don’t …”
Battling inside a packed out Plymouth gym that erupted every time the home team made a play, Riverside held a lead briefly in the first quarter but was force to play catch up for the rest of the game. The Knights would stay within striking distance till the final buzzer and even clawed within one of the Vikings but never got over the hump.
Plymouth will be back in action next Friday when they take on No. 5 East Carteret (18-9) at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville.

Riverside    8    17    7    16    –    48
Plymouth    9    21    10    17    –    57
Knights (48)
Marcus Freeman 24, Rodman 6, Byrd 2, Beach 5, Chuck Beathea 10, Hardison 1.
Vikings (57)
Carl McCray 23, Sean Holloway 11, Sheppard 5, Adrian 4, Spruill 4, Kendrick Pitt 11.