BUILDING AT HOME: Pam Pack growing in long home swing

Published 11:10 pm Friday, January 8, 2016

THROUGH CONTACT: Washington guard Sharwan Staton drives through a pair of Farmville Central defenders en route to the basket. The sheer size of the visiting Jaguars made it tough to work inside, but Staton and the Pam Pack made do.

THROUGH CONTACT: Washington guard Sharwan Staton drives through a pair of Farmville Central defenders en route to the basket. The sheer size of the visiting Jaguars made it tough to work inside, but Staton and the Pam Pack made do.

Friday marked the halfway point of Washington’s New Year home stand. The Pam Pack returned from vacation and traveled to Southwest Edgecombe on Jan. 5. The boys and girls returned home to host Southside on Wednesday and Farmville Central on Friday. The stretch of home games gives them both a chance to pick up some momentum as they both prepare for the thick of Eastern Plains Conference competition.

Both squads picked up wins over nonconference rival Southside, but ran into a wall against stout Jaguar teams. Farmville Central’s boys traveled to Washington on Friday looking to extend their perfect start to 11-0 and did just that.

Despite the loss, the Pam Pack has a lot to build on. The offense churned out a season-best performance in the 90-78 loss.

A 4-0 run at home was what coach Steven Flowers had hoped for, but he was aware of the quality of competition that would be coming in. The Pam Pack hung with the Jaguars and that proved a lot.

“We didn’t have any question about our heart coming in,” Flowers said. “We don’t have the athleticism they have. We don’t have the athletes. We don’t have the size, speed or quickness. We don’t have any of that, but we knew we had heart.

“Our goal was to win all four. That’s what we were hoping to get. We still have (Beddingfield and North Johnston). Beddingfield is going to be every bit as good as them, but if we put up a fight, I think we can play with anybody.”

Flowers was hoping to see fight in the game. He got it in more ways than he wanted. An altercation took place between the two sides in the last minute of the game. It resulted in a technical foul against Washington.

“It’s getting to be a rivalry,” Flowers said. “We’ve been in the conference with them. … It’s starting to turn into a rivalry and it’s going to be heated.”

Farmville Central coach Larry Williford added, “I think anytime any team comes in undefeated in the middle of the season on a Friday night, you’re going to get the team’s emotion. You’re going to get effort and intensity. Sometimes all three off those combine and they’re hard to contain.”

The second half ended on three consecutive dunks by Farmville Central’s Michael Taylor and a 3-pointer by Shaft Parker. It put the visitors ahead 47-27 heading into the break.

AUTHORITATIVE: Farmville Central’s Michael Taylor flies to the rim for a dunk late in the first half of Friday’s game at Washington. It seemed like the Jaguars owned all the momentum at halftime, but the Pam Pack showed plenty of heart and kept it close throughout.

The Jaguars could have easily run away with the game in the second half, but Washington didn’t let it. The third quarter opened with a 14-4 run by the Pam Pack, putting the boys within 10, 51-41.

Farmville Central bounced back to keep its distance from the surging Pam Pack. The Jaguars got back-to-back 3-point plays in the form of a trey by Parker and an and-one layup from Bobby Daniels.

Washington, trailing 65-50, played with a sense of urgency in the final period. Shaiquan Moore opened the fourth quarter with a bucket in transition to help establish the quicker tempo the Pam Pack hoped to play with. It helped the boys cut their deficit to single digits a couple of times, but Farmville Central didn’t let them get too close.

The girls experienced a setback against Farmville Central, too. Like their male counterparts, the girls were able to battle back and make it a close game, but the Lady Jaguars made the plays necessary to finish it off.

“The fighting back was very important for us,” said coach Ralph Biggs. “It let us see what we can do. The disheartening part was how we got down — the small mistakes, the little things we got to work on. But it was good that we fought back. The girls stayed in it.”

Naturally, Biggs was also hoping for his group to sweep the home stretch. As a first-year coach, though, he also knows that the team is building something for the future.

“You want to win at home. That’s where we’re trying to get,” he said. “You start out building a program and you get a reputation for winning at home, then you build to win on the road.”

Despite how it seems, Biggs and the girls aren’t looking down the road. He said they’re taking it possession-by-possession and game-by-game. This next one against Beddingfield gives them another shot at picking up their first league win and gaining some footing in the standings.

Beddingfield swings by Washington on Jan. 15.