UNSTOPPABLE FORCE, IMMOVABLE OBJECT: Terra Ceia, Pungo clash for 1st place

Published 5:23 pm Monday, January 11, 2016

MICHAEL PRUNKA | DAILY NEWS 1- CONTACT: Terra Ceia’s Tyler Hendrix takes contact en route to the hoop against Northside. Size was one mismatch the Knights experienced against the Panthers, but their Christmas tournament experiences give them an edge in their clash with Pungo.

CONTACT: Terra Ceia’s Tyler Hendrix takes contact en route to the hoop against Northside. Size was one mismatch the Knights experienced against the Panthers, but their Christmas tournament experiences give them an edge in their clash with Pungo.

BELHAVEN — It’s been one of the most anticipated matchups since basketball season kicked off in early November. Pungo and Terra Ceia started off with high expectations and neither has disappointed.

The Knights, who travel to Belhaven for their first of two regular-season showdowns with the Raiders, opened their campaign with a dozen consecutive wins. Their first blemish was a 65-64 loss at Northside in a game that turned out to be an instant classic.

The Raiders stumbled out of the gate with a 68-62 loss to Faith Christian in their season opener. They bounced back and have since won 12 games and, like Terra Ceia, are perfect in the NCISAA Tarheel Conference.

The winner of Tuesday’s game will claim the top spot in the conference standings.

Both squads boast efficient and deadly offenses. The Knights have a flashy style that is only possible due to the team chemistry. The team has been together for years and it’s apparent in the way the Knights can connect on seamless no-look, Globetrotter-esque passes.

Terra Ceia has averaged just over 76 points a game while Pungo is scoring a shade above 70 points a game. The Raiders get it done however they can. They’re effective in the half court by wearing down the defense to create chances, but also thrive in a fast-pace transition game.

Pungo’s climb to the top of the league will be fueled by its defense. The Raiders can comfortably alternate between 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone schemes, as well as a strong man-to-man defense. Terra Ceia’s run-and-gun style will be hard to slow down, but once the Raiders settle into an effective defensive strategy, the Knights may find it hard to score at their normal pace.

Pungo’s biggest advantage is its depth. The Raiders have 13 ready to suit up for Tuesday’s first-place bout. Terra Ceia only has eight players listed on its roster. Both have bench scoring, but the fatigue alone may give an edge to the hosting Raiders.

On the other hand, Pungo is relatively untested compared to Terra Ceia. The Knights spent their Christmas taking on some top clubs in the area. They competed in the Greenfield Christmas Tournament, losing to the hosts, North Raleigh Christian Academy and Harrells Christian Academy. Even though they came up short, the Knights have challenged themselves in a way that Pungo hasn’t yet.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at Pungo.


RISING UP: Messiah Barnes blows past the defense before going to the basket for an easy layup in an early-season game against Lawrence. Barnes has been a prolific scorer and playmaker for the Knights this year.

Terra Ceia routs Ridgecroft, Barnes drops 25 ahead of Terra Ceia clash


Roanoke-Chowan News Herald


AHOSKIE — They might have scored 100, but kept the game in a spirit of sportsmanship.

Ridgecroft School made two early free throws to get on the scoreboard and tie the game with Terra Ceia Christian School at 2-2.  From there the Knights never stopped rolling; and, perhaps with an eye toward Tuesday’s Beaufort County first-place showdown with Pungo in the Tarheel Independent Conference, they coasted to a 91-29 win here Friday night.

Nathan Askew had 14 points to lead the scoring for Ridgecroft while Messiah Barnes led all scorers — and five Knights players in double-figures — with 27 for Terra Ceia.

The loss dropped the Rams to an even .500 at 7-7 and 3-3 in conference.

Terra Ceia broke the 2-2 tie with a 25-point run thanks to pressure defense that led to turnovers and fast-break lay-ups.  With less than a minute remaining in the first quarter, it was 27-2, Knights.  Askew was fouled on a bank shot for a three-point play, but the five points were all the Rams could muster and trailed 31-5 after one period of play.

The Rams got their first three-point field goal of the game one minute into the second quarter, making their deficit 32-8; but three more Knight layups pushed their lead back to 30 at 38-8.  After scoring 13 in the first stanza, Barnes cooled in the second, only accounting for 6 points.  The other Knights — in the true fashion of their namesake — came through with teamwork on the scoreboard, and accounted for the other 14 and a 50-14 lead at the mid-break.

Terra Ceia employed a slow-down in the third quarter, spreading the floor, but still getting back-door lay-ups off no-look passes and put 22 more on the board, including the last 10 points of the frame for a 72-17 bulge.

The clock ran in the final eight minutes out of sportsmanship, but the loss had to be no less stinging for the home team.  Terra Ceia’s biggest lead was by 63 at 86-23 before the end mercifully came and the Knights (14-4, 5-0, TIC) headed back to Pantego 62-point winners and ready to face 6-0 Pungo for league supremacy.


CALLING THE SHOTS: Landon Woolard carries the ball down the court against Ridgecroft, analyzing the opponent’s defense and looking for plays to make. He averages 14.9 points per game, which is second-best among the Raiders. He also dishes out a team-high 3.3 assists per game.

Raiders cruise past Hobgood, Woolard scores 25 in decisive win

HOBGOOD — Pungo hit the road to take on a struggling Hobgood Academy team on Friday. The Raiders cruised to a 72-34 road win to continue building momentum ahead of hosting top-ranked Terra Ceia on Tuesday.

Senior Landon Woolard scored a game-high 25 points and dished out a pair of assists in the win. Will Respess scored 11 and Noah Cahoon added nine, too.

Pungo capitalized on turnover after turnover to seal an easy win for their 12th of the season. Woolard had seven steals in the contest and the Raiders combined for 17 total takeaways.

The Raiders remained consistent with their offensive efficiency. It was their sixth game in a row scoring 70 or more points. They’ve shown time and time again that they can score no matter the pace of the game. They’re just as comfortable forcing turnovers and earning points in transition as they are settling into their offense to wear down the opposing defense to create chances.

Landon Adams, Respess and Cahoon were all effective on the glass. Each of them grabbed five rebounds in the winning effort. Logan Van Staalduienn had four rebounds, too.