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AREA ROUNDUP: Cougars handle Vikings for 3rd time

SouthWest Edgecombe’s Keyshaun Powell (5) and Xander Brown (4) defend as Tarboro’s Jamarion Dickens (1) passes the ball during Saturday’s game at SouthWest Edgecombe. Looking on is Cougars freshman Ricky Smith (1), who led them with 20 points in SWE’s 58-54 win. Paul Durham | Times

PINETOPS — With much of the attention Saturday afternoon focused on SouthWest Edgecombe High varsity girls basketball coach Sandra Langley becoming the all-time winningest basketball coach in NCHSAA history with her 819th career victory, the host Cougars and a hungry Tarboro team put on an entertaining finale of the tripleheader.

SouthWest Edgecombe of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference survived a late thrust by the 1-A Four River Conference Vikings to post its third win of the season over Tarboro, 58-54. SouthWest, which ripped the Vikings by 30 points in the Edgecombe County Holiday Classic third-place game, held on for a 60-50 win at Tarboro last Saturday, Jan. 7. After a seven-game losing streak following a season-opening win, the Cougars, now 5-9 overall, have won three of their last four. SouthWest outscored Tarboro 16-7 in the second quarter to take a 10-point halftime lead that grew to 14 points after three quarters. The Cougars then survived a 24-point fourth by the Vikings (1-10).

Freshman Ricky Smith led SWE with 20 points to go with four rebounds and four assists while junior Rodney Pettaway had nine points and seven assists. Parker Gay contributed seven points and seven rebounds

The Cougars, who dropped to 1-4 in Eastern Plains games with a 95-57 loss at home to Washington on Friday, jump right back into league action Tuesday at West Craven (4-10, 0-5 EPC).

Short, Jags shoot down Greenfield

FARMVILLE — Greenfield has played — and will play — some pretty high-powered boys basketball teams this season but head coach Rob Salter hopes his Knights won’t see another squad as locked in as Farmville Central was Saturday.

Playing in the MLK Classic hosted by Farmville Central, Greenfield found itself in the firing line of dynamic 6-foot-4 senior Jah Short and the rest of the Jags in a 102-63 loss. Short, who has signed with University of New Orleans, hit seven 3-pointers in the second quarter alone on his way to a game-high 31 points to go with seven assists. Farmville Central connected on 16 3-pointers on the game as it improved to 15-1.

“They were like Coby White 3s from NBA range with people all over them,” Salter said, referencing the former Knights star now with the Chicago Bulls.

Despite that second-quarter fusillade by Short, the Knights (19-6) only trailed 55-41 at the half, giving Salter reason to think they might fight their way back in it.

“I told our guys we took their best punch, we’re OK,” he said. “Then in the second half, the rain of 3s extended to the other guys.”

Senior Kyshon Atkinson led Greenfield with 25 points while Jack Adair added 13 points.

While the Knights won’t have to contend with Farmville Central, ranked No. 1 among NCHSAA 2-A East teams, again this season, they very well may see their next opponent in the NCISAA 2-A playoffs next month. Greenfield, ranked No. 3 among NCISAA 2-A teams by, will play top-ranked The Burlington School in Monday’s second day of the MLK Classic at Farmville Central.

“It’s a big game for us, kind of a measuring stick to see where we are,” said of the two-time defending NCISAA 2-A champion Spartans. “I think our guys will bounce back and hopefully we’ll be ready.”

Freeman sparks Panthers past Bruins

KENLY — Sensational sophomore Marcel Freeman of North Johnston nearly outscored the visiting Beddingfield varsity boys basketball team by himself Friday night and it was a good thing for the victorious Panthers in the 48-39 outcome since the rest of the team only accounted for a third of the scoring.

Freeman, who ranks fourth among NCHSAA scorers with 26.2 points per game, hit 13-of-23 attempts from the floor for 56.5% accuracy, including 5 of 11 from 3-point range. With Freeman handling the bulk of the scoring, senior Jaylen Sumler contributed six points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists while senior Cadyn Lucas grabbed eight rebounds for the Panthers, who improved to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in 2-A Neuse 6 Conference play. The Panthers will host Goldsboro (13-2, 2-0 Neuse 6) in a clash of conference unbeatens Tuesday.

Isaac Pettaway had 11 points and Asun Pender added eight points for Bruins (4-10, 0-2), who will visit Eastern Wayne (6-8, 1-1) on Tuesday.