Yo Adrian! Super sub lifts Vikes to victory

Published 11:20 pm Friday, March 2, 2012

Plymouth sixth-man Adrian Moore (24) reacts in front of the Plymouth section in the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville after scoring a basket in the fourth quarter of the Vikings 67-64 victory over East Carteret in the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional semifinals. Moore finished the game with 19 points. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

FAYETTEVILLE — Plymouth coach Marvin Davenport’s hand hovered over the panic button as his team’s fourth quarter lead was slowly being eroded by an oncoming East Carteret squad desperate to fight off elimination. To make matters worse, leading scorer Carl McCray had just twisted his ankle and was now on the sideline. With their season on the line, the Vikings needed a hero. Adrian Moore answered the call.
Moore, Plymouth’s sophomore sixth-man, came off the bench and erupted for eight fourth-quarter points to turn the tide on the Mariners’ rally and lift the Vikings to a 67-64 victory in the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional semifinal round of the state playoffs Friday inside the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville.
“Adrian is our No. 6 man and he played a good game tonight,” Davenport said of Moore, who would finish the game with 19 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field. “The baskets he made down the stretch, I’ll tell you, I might not be sitting here now with this joy if he hadn’t have made them.”
The win catapulted the Vikings into East Regional finals for the first time in 10 years where they will take on No. 4 Rocky Mount Prep, who thumped No. 3 West Columbus 88-55 on Friday.
Plymouth (22-3, Four Rivers), the No. 3 seed, fell behind 14-8 at the end of the first quarter but outscored No. 5 East Carteret (18-10, Coastal Plains) 18-7 in the second quarter to go into intermission up 26-21.
After the break, the Vikings expanded their lead to 10 after McCray, who would score a team-high 20 points, went 1-for-2 from the line to make it a 37-27 ball game midway through the third.
However, East Carteret’s Matt Collins, who scored game-high 25 points, and the rest of the Mariners were tougher than a $2 steak and ripped off an 11-4 run to enter the final quarter trailing only 41-38.
After seeing his playing time cut short due to three first-half fouls, East Carteret’s Cornelius Johnson did not hold back in the fourth, and after burying a mid-range jumper from the baseline, he had pulled his team within one of the Vikings, 43-42, with 5:41 left in the game.
It was around that time that McCray had injured his ankle and East Carteret coach Billy Anderson knew it was now or never. After holding off on pressing earlier in the game because of Plymouth’s athleticism, Anderson went all in and took the collar of his dogs by unleashing a full-court press.
“McCray was out and we looked at it as this is our chance, let’s try (pressing) again,” Anderson said.
In this heavyweight battle, East Carteret kept throwing haymakers and had Plymouth on the ropes after a Collins three knotted the score at 58 apeice with two minutes showing on the clock.
It was then that Moore jabbed Plymouth’s way out of the corner with a fastbreak layup, and then punctuated the moment by running over to the Vikings’ section of the arena and screamed in celebratory fashion.
After that, Plymouth tacked on four quick points as Kendrick Pitt converted on a three-point play that was followed by a McCray free throw to extend its lead to 64-59.
With 13 seconds left before the final buzzer, Mariners freshman point guard Jacque Brown drilled a three-pointer from well behind the professional three-point line to cut the deficit to 64-66. East Carteret would foul Moore on the ensuing possession but the super sub would go 1-for-2 from the line to cement the victory.

East Carteret    14    7    17    26    –    64
Plymouth    8    18    15    26    –    67
Mariners (64)
Johnson 7, Mathew Collins 24, Brown 9, Fallin 3, Ty Simmons 10, Cabrera 4, Monroe 7.
Vikings (67)
Khalil Sheppard 10, Pitt 3, Carl McCray 20, Spruill 8, Holloway 5, Adrian Moore 19, Lesesne 2.