For three quarters Tuesday night, the Fike High girls basketball team’s unbeaten run in 3-A Quad County Conference play seemed in danger.
The Golden Demons then outscored visiting C.B. Aycock 12-4 in the final quarter of play to secure a 38-36 victory at home for their ninth win in as many QCC games.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to pull out such a close game,” Fike head coach Marcus Johnson said. “I didn’t like the way we played tonight, we didn’t look in synch and we looked like we were stuck in the mud.”
Extending its winning streak overall to eight games, Fike now sits at 15-3 overall, and remains solidly atop the conference with five games remaining, starting with a trip to Smithfield-Selma on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
On the other side, C.B. Aycock saw its streak of five consecutive wins come to an end, as it fell to 9-12 overall and 6-5 in conference.
The Falcons took a 32-26 lead into the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game, as the teams traded buckets in the opening minute of the frame.
Bree Jones connected on a jumper in the lane for the away side with 7:23 left in the game, for what proved to be C.B. Aycock’s final points for nearly seven minutes.
Fike was able to score seven points during that stretch, to go ahead by one.
Jewel Brewington scored the first four points of the run with a pair of free throws around a bucket in the paint.
Then, with 3:37 remaining, sophomore Emory Skinner drained a 3-pointer from the corner just in front of the Demons bench to put them up 35-34.
“Coach (Johnson) really puts a lot of trust in me for that,” Skinner said. “I appreciate it a lot and I was just happy I could knock down the big shot.”
The go-ahead score was followed by 2:50 of game time that saw neither team able to find the bottom of the net.
Jones, who finished the night with a game-high 23 points for C.B. Aycock, put her side back in the lead by connecting on a jumper with 47 seconds to go.
On Fike’s ensuing trip down the floor, Brewington drove into the lane, before dishing off to Jalia Daniels, as the senior put in the eventual game-winning score.
The next possession saw Jones’ shot from the edge of the paint roll of the rim, as Skinner eventually drew a foul and hit 1 of 2 from the foul line with eight ticks on the clock.
Looking to tie the game, the Falcons’ last gasp came in the form of a Keytah Kermode shot just before the buzzer.
However, the sophomore was unable to connect, as the final horn sounded before the rebound could be tracked down and the Demons held on for the two-point win.
“It was tough being that close, but I’m just glad we were able to pull through and take the win,” Skinner said.
C.B. Aycock led 14-11 after the opening quarter, largely thanks to a personal 6-0 run by Jones in the middle portions of the frame.
It remained a three-point margin heading into halftime after both teams managed 10 points in the second quarter.
A low-scoring third saw the Falcons double their lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Skinner opened the second half with five straight points behind a 3, helping the hosts pull ahead by two, as she finished with a team-high 14 points in the win.
Brewington followed with nine points for Fike, while Horvath added eight.
After not scoring for nearly six minutes of play in the third, C.B. Aycock would close the frame with an 8-0 run to go back in front by six.
Jones and Zakayla Sanders finished off the quarter by drilling 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.
Heading into the final five games of the season, the Demons expect every opponent to put its best foot forward against them.
“I promised the girls, being on top, everybody is coming for us in that top spot,” Johnson said. “They have nothing to lose, so we have to be more polished in the things that can help us win games.”
C.B. AYCOCK (36)
Jones 23, Sanders 7, Frederick 4, Hall 2, Kermode, Teasley.
Horvath 8, Brewington 9, Skinner 14, Jenkins 4, Daniels 3, Pleasants.
Score by quarters:
C.B. Aycock 14 10 8 4 — 36
Fike 11 10 5 12 — 38