Second season: Conference play opens for Big East teams Tuesday
BY SAMUEL EVERS
Monday, January 7, 2019
The non-conference games and the holiday tournaments matter, of course, but the intensity of the prep basketball seasons picks up Tuesday, with every team in the Big East set to face off against a conference opponent. Here is a closer look at the six boys’ and girls’ matchups.
Franklinton (2-11) at Rocky Mount High (9-2), 8 p.m.
It’s been a tough start for Franklinton in its second season in the Big East. The Rams have wins against Ayden-Grifton and Louisburg, but enter their game at Rocky Mount High on Tuesday having lost four of five.
The Gryphons are trending upwards, having won five straight games since dropping the Nash County Christmas Tournament title game to Northern Nash. In terms of offense, RMHS has been notably equal opportunity, with five players scoring between 7.4 and 9.5 points per game.
Southern Nash (7-4) at Wilson Fike (9-3), 8 p.m.
Southern Nash might be getting Wilson’s best to start conference play with a game on the road against Fike, though the Demons enter Big East play having lost three of four games.
The player coach Robbie Kennedy and the rest of the Firebirds will have to be most weary of on offense is junior Moses Parker, who comes in averaging 19 points per game.
For Southern Nash, which has won three straight entering Tuesday, Darius Edmundson’s 16 points per contest leads the team.
Wilson Hunt (6-3) at Northern Nash (12-1), 8 p.m.
The Knights entered this stage of the season last year with a nearly identical one-loss record, and they didn’t lose again in 2017-18 until the second round of the 3-A playoffs.
And, perhaps most encouraging for Northern Nash, is that almost all of the scoring is back this season. Undray Cherry was the Knights’ leading scorer at 15.7 per game last year; the next four on that list were juniors in 2017-18 and seniors this year, plus they’ve added Ta’Rod Brown from Nash Central to the mix.
“He’s still trying to learn our system and how we do things, but overall he’s adjusted very well,” Northern Nash coach Henry Drake told the Telegram in late-December. “We’re proud of the way he’s adjusted. He’s been a great addition.”
Franklinton at Rocky Mount High (10-2), 6 p.m.
The Gryphons enter their game Tuesday on a nine-game winning streak, having most recently beaten Hertford County on Friday. Senior Mya Pittman is up to 15.3 points a game on the season, while junior Alexis Moore has hit 31 3-pointers in her first 12 games.
The Rams, though, enter Big East play on a streak of notable basketball as well, having lost the first two games of the season but only one since. Their leading scorer is Miracle Cornell, who is averaging 14.2 points per game.
Wilson Hunt (9-2) at Northern Nash (2-7), 6 p.m.
The Warriors are one of three teams in the conference with at least nine wins — they haven’t lost since Dec. 11 — while the early going has been a bit of a struggle for the Knights.
Northern Nash is, however, coming off a nice win last week at home against North Edgecombe, 64-28.
Southern Nash (4-7) at Wilson Fike (5-5), 6 p.m.
The good news for Southern Nash, three games under .500 at the start of the conference schedule, is that the Firebirds are already much-improved from a season ago, in which they finished 1-20 on the season.
Shontell Nicholson’s 9.7 points per game has so far led Southern Nash.