Washington falls to first place Farmville Central

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS JUST SHORT: Point guard John Whitley finished with 13 points four assists in a losing effort Friday night at home.

JUST SHORT: Point guard John Whitley finished with 13 points four assists in a losing effort Friday night at home.

Whenever Washington takes the court against an old rival in Farmville Central, the basketball spirits of years past always seem to factor in to the final outcome. For the second time this season, the first place standing and athletic starting lineup didn’t seem intimidate a Pam Pack team that has won just two games. In the end, however, a handful of timely shots by the Jaguars’ Shaft Parker and Terrell Dickens stunted a Washington comeback and result in a 72-66 win for the Eastern Plains Conference leader.

“Our intensity was a whole lot better than last game,” said head coach Steven Flowers. “We know we have it in us, we just need to bring it out. You get tired of playing that hard and losing. Those kids played hard tonight.”

Washington, entering with a mundane 2-11 record, had little to lose against the reigning conference champion and played organized basketball until the final buzzer.

The team’s leading scorer, point guard John Whitley, finished with just 13 points and four assists, as Farmville Central pressured him on the perimeter. But unlike the last game against North Pitt, his teammates came to his assistance when needed.

Center William Tate fought for rebounds against taller competition and notched five points in the first five minutes. Relying on their lights out perimeter shooting, the Jaguars knocked down four three-pointers in the first quarter and secured a slim lead.

Flowers subbed in Sharwon Staton and Jamond Ebron in the second quarter in hopes of cutting down on the threes by pressuring the perimeter. It worked and Farmville Central was forced to challenge Tate and Kaleb Spencer in the paint. Despite solid defensive play, Washington scored just eight points in the second quarter and trailied 31-23 at the half.

After a few halftime adjustments, the Pam Pack was finally able to open up some space and capitalize from the perimeter. Matthew Holloway, a player Flowers has leaned on to be the Pam Pack’s secondary option on offense, came up big in the third quarter, hitting a much-needed three and dishing when covered. Soon, shots began to fall for Washington and the lead shrunk to just three points heading into the final eight minutes.

“Matthew stepped up the second half of last game and this game. He’s coming around,” Flowers said.

Holloway continued to hit timely shots in the fourth quarter and keep his team within striking distance. And after a quiet start, Whitley finally began to find the bottom of the net. Washington, for the first time since the first quarter, tied the game at 51 with 5:30 left, but never managed to secure a lead.

Down 61-60 with the clock showing 2:15, the Pam Pack guards’ hot hands were finally silenced and the Jaguars opened up a comfortable lead, sealing the win and defending their place at the top of the conference.

Holloway finished with a season-high 19 points, while shooting guard Azim Anthony chipped in with 10 points.

For Farmville Central, Parker finished with a game-high 23 points.

Washington will look to bounce back in Pinetops on Tuesday when it takes on Southwest Edgecombe.