Knights spoil Pungo’s senior night

Published 1:03 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

BELHAVEN — Messiah Barnes scored 22 points, and three of Terra Ceia’s other four starters added at least 10 in an 86-40 manhandling of rival Pungo on Tuesday. The win, which was the Knights’ completed a season sweep of the nearby Raiders.

Pungo, riding the emotions of senior night, was able to keep the game close early on. The Raiders took the lead twice in the first quarter, despite four of Terra Ceia’s first five baskets coming from long range. The fourth of those 3-pointers, which came from Austin Roscoe, kicked off the Knights taking over the game.

“We came into this game second in the conference, and nobody thought that we would be second,” Pungo coach Mart Benson said. “We came into this game with a lot of pride. Our strategy was somewhat similar, although we like to run the ball, so the boys wanted to run a little more. Actually, I think it kind of worked in the first quarter. I think they expected us to slow it down.”

It gave the visitors a 14-11 lead. Their defense swarmed to limit Pungo to just one more bucket and three made free throws in the period. Meanwhile, they got turnovers, too, which were easily converted into layups at the other end.

“You’ve got to understand that, each and every night, we’ve set the bar with the way we play,” Knights coach Roger Klaassen said. “We struggled to get the motor fired in that first quarter. We were doing some things that we shouldn’t do. We corrected it. That’s the biggest thing.”

With a 28-17 lead after one, Terra Ceia got the first five baskets of the second. Shaiquan Moore — who had 11 points, seven rebounds and five steals — jumped out in transition with Barnes, who also knocked down a pair of 3s in the spurt. The Knights owned a 40-19 lead before they knew it.

Senior Raiders Archer Johnson and Jonathan Langley each got layups to put Pungo on the board in the second, but Tyler Hendrix took back whatever momentum they earned when he turned a steal at one end into a dunk at the other. Hendrix finished the game with 20 points and eight boards.

Terra Ceia started off the third in a similar way. After taking a 49-27 lead into the intermission, the Knights came out and scored the first 17 points of the third. The Raiders got just enough to fight off a running clock until Hendrix’s trey late in the quarter gave Terra Ceia a 40-point, 72-32 advantage.

The fourth came and went without much consequence. Johnson drilled a 3 for the Raiders, and Alex Van Staalduinen’s baseline jumper capped off Terra Ceia’s scoring.

Pungo and Terra Ceia each have one more conference game ahead before setting their sights on the conference tournament. For the Raiders, they’ll dial in on what they did so well early on in the game.

Pungo senior Christian Cadle stops short to float a shot over Quentin Van Essendelft.

Pungo senior Christian Cadle stops short to float a shot over Quentin Van Essendelft.

“If we can compete against this team in the first quarter like we did, we can beat anybody else in the conference. That’s what we’re going to take away from this game,” Benson said.

He also added that the lopsided loss didn’t take away from the emotion of the evening.

“My son (Allen Benson) is a senior. I’ve known all of those boys since they were in kindergarten. I thought they played pretty well, so I’ll take that anytime.”