Washington advances in EPC tournament

Published 9:52 pm Monday, February 19, 2024

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There was no need for overtime this time. 10 days after last place North Pitt wiped out a 23-7 first quarter deficit to force an extra period before losing at Dave Smith Gym, Washington made sure history didn’t repeat with an 88-63 victory that wasn’t that close in the first round of the Eastern Plains Conference tournament.

The second-seeded Pam Pack takes on third-seed West Craven, who defeated Ayden-Grifton in the semi-finals Wednesday night at Farmville Central. The top-seeded Jaguars face Southwest Edgecombe, with the winners meeting Friday for the EPC tournament title.
Washington was playing without senior post player Gary Payne, who averages a double-double, but had plenty of firepower without him.

While Payne was at home with the flu, his teammates used their usual up-tempo style to race to a 10-2 advantage. This time the Panthers (3-22) didn’t put up much of a fight, trailing by as much as 17 points in the first half, only to go down by 30 mid-way through the fourth quarter after consecutive deep three-pointers from senior Jerai Davenport, who finished with a game-high 28 points.
“We shot the ball extremely well tonight and Jacob Daniels stepped up with some scoring to help ease Gary’s loss,” coach David Allewalt said. “We talked pre-game about the overtime game and how it couldn’t happen again and the guys responded.”

Davenport hit five of the Pack’s nine-three pointers and the starters played together for the final time late in the third quarter.

“Our bench guys got in quite a bit tonight and that will help us in the playoffs,” Allewalt said. “Everybody knows the stakes are higher this time of year and we’re happy with tonight’s result. We need to keep working on stopping penetration to the basket and we need to box out more on rebounds, but 88 points in 32 minutes is always a good thing.”

Chaise Smith finished with 20 points, while Daniels had 13.

State tournament pairings will be announced Saturday.