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The Charlotte Post Blog

Friday, February 28, 2014
CIAA Tournament - Day Four

Dang, this is a women’s semifinal. Where is everybody? The CIAA Hall of Fame started at 9 a.m. this year instead of 11 a.m., so folks should be back. Virginia Union is in its first semifinal under coach Barvenia Wooten-Cherry, while Fayetteville State is looking for a second straight title appearance. The Broncos lost to Shaw last year.

I tell you CIAA women’s basketball just gets the shaft. First, the games on NOT on TV, then the big Jumbotron won’t even show the score and individual players statistics. You have to look all the way to the upper rafters to see the scoreboard and stats. Why can’t they show them on the Jumbotron?

Just overheard a conversation that Commissioner Carpenter is checking on the Jumbotron. Folks are upset.

While the Broncos are the favorite as the No. 2 seed, the Panthers lead 17-15. OK, the tron is up and running. Still, wouldn't have happened with the men's games.

One of the VUU band members is holding up a life-sized head of broadcaster Stan Lewter. We've had some fun with that. Like, that's the real size of Stan's head, or he's paying them to do it. We love you Stan!

Game has slowed down. Tied at 17 with 4 minutes left in 1st half. Eeeks! Jasmin Dancy gives Panthers a2-pt lead, but Shaquanza Manning's 3-ptr puts Broncos on top 20-19. Still, you'd think neither team has played a game. This tempo is benefiting the Panthers for sure.

Now, we're picking up. Games has been tied 5 times in the past 2 minutes. Akysia Resper nails a 3 to give FSU 3-pt lead. with 58 seconds left.

Halftime: FSU 25, VUU 23.

More good games are on the horizon. Great day of basketball on tap.

Panthers score first 4 pts to take 27-25 lead. Panthers make it 29-25 with 6 straight points. Crowd starting to flow in. Lady Walker hits layupt to give Panthers 4 pts lead. Love her name, Lady Walker. Makes you think of Lady Day.

Broncos are cold from the field. Shot 32.1% in the first half, No doing much better. Meylse Brown gives VUU a 6-pt lead. Timeout Broncos.

Amber Calvin breaks the drought, but Broncos defense can't stop Panthers. Denesha Tatum gets a putback.  Uh oh, Calvin about to go off. Hits her second straight basketba. Has 11 pts. 13:21 left in game.

Walker gets her 3 pesonal foul wth 12:52 left. Bria Robinson hits 2 FTs to pull FSU to 2. Akysia Resper gives Broncos the lead with a 3. Think FSU was looking past VUU to the championship game?  Resper makes it 2 in a row. FSU leads 42-39 with 11:29 left. TO Union.

Broncos may have awaken. De'Aira Smith makes it 44-39. Calvin gives FSU a 10-0 run.

Calvin is on fire. Hits again for her 15th point. It's the Calvin & Resper Show. Respter has 12. It's a 14-0 run now. Oh no, Calvin is down. In case you din't know, she's had 3 ACL injuries in her career. She's walking off on her own accord so that's good. Don't want to see any player get hurt.

Ashe Freeman breaks VUU drought with a FT but misses second. FSU leads 50-41 with 8:36 left.

Now it's Union's turn to make a run. Cuts the lead to 6, but Deja Middleton puts FSU up 8. Calvin is back in the game. JeLena Robertson gives FSU its biggest lead of 9 with 4:50 left, but Panthers cut it down to 7.

Union just missed 2 FTs that would have trimmed lead to 6 with 2:12 left. What is it with bad free throw shooting? But Dancy comes right back and makes a layup and a FT to make it 58-53 FSU with 1:40 left.

Panthers would actually lead in this game if not for missed FTs. Down by 4 with Calvin at the line. She makes 1, 2. Back to 6. See the difference.

Melyse Brown nails a 3 with 35.4 seconds left. FSU up 60-57. TO.

Middleton is fouled. VUU's Freeman commits the foul and fouls out of the game. Middleton makes one that rolls around the ri 3 times before falling in. Makes second. 62-57. Panthers shoot airball. Game over. FSU wins 64-57. But coach Wooten-Cherry has the Panthers headed in the right direction. They have nothing to be ashamed up. Missed free throws. Calvin is the MVP.

 

GAME TWO: SHAW VS. VIRGINIA STATE

What more needs to be said about this one. It's mentee vs. mentor or coach vs. assistant coach. The Trojans only blemish this year is to Shaw. And coach Jacques Curtis has never lost in the championship game, so if Shaw advances, it's over tomorrow.

Neither can VSU afford to get behind early. Shaw already leads 6-2. The Bears are a second-half team but Curtis has no intention of losing to his former employee. Diamond Mitchell gives Bears 8-2 lead.

Here talking with one of the arena managers. She has a young daughter who players basketball. Her job relocated her here from Florida. When she said "FSU" initials, she thought "Florida State" was playing. Didn't realize it was Fayetteville State.

So far, Trojans playing nothing like the team that annihilated St. Aug's Wed. Already it's 12-4 with 10:32 left in first.

Trojans waking up. Have outscored Shaw 6-1 to trail by 3 with the ball. Couldn't convert. Shaw can. Verdine Warner puts Bears up 15-10. Mitchell makes it 4-0 run for 17-10 and Shaw gets the ball back again after TO. Mitchell on a roll. 19-10 now with 5:49 left in half.

Mitchell just committed her second foul with 5 minutes to go. The Trojans are the only ranked team in the NCAA regionals. Anybody else would have to win the tourney to make it to postseason.

DeAnna Waters hits a sweet jumper to pull Trojans to 23-21 with 1:50 left. And just like that, Shaw scores 5 straight. That how the Bears wear teams down. They fight and fight to get back into the game only to have Shaw just run up another streak.

Halftime: Shaw 28, VSU 23. Trojans lucky to be down by only 5. Shot just 29.6%. Both teams were a combined 1 of 9 from 3-pt. range.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: VSU is making a run. Trail 32-29 with 16:27 left. Let's see how Shaw responds.

VSU just missed a layup that would have cut the lead to 1. That's the second time in the game. I won't name names so not to embarrass anyone – YET – but dang. And what happens, Warner puts it in for Shaw. Bears holding on to an 8-pt lead with 11:14 left.

Here we go again: Jessica Lyons hits a layup to cut the lead to 3 with 7:35 left. Pryncess Tate-Dublin hits a short jumper to make it a 1pt game.  Tate-Dublin puts the Trojans on top with a 48-46 for the first time today. Ariel Hatcher comes down and ties the game with 6:41 left. Finally, some action.

Tate-Dublin is on fire. Nails another one. Trojans lead 50-48. And Warner ties it up. Lyons hits a 3 before Mitchell makes a layup. VSU by 1 with 5:05 left. Tiffanie Adair makes a layup before Micah Brooks basket. VSU still by 1 with 4:20 left.

Shaw misses a breakaway layup but Kamiya Burwell gets the rebound and is fouled. Makes both FT. Bears lead by 1. Tate-Dublin gives VSU back the lead. Tate-Dublin has 21 pts. Warner makes 1 FT and we're all tied with 1:27 left. Shaw has ball with 1 minute left. Warner is dominated the offensive boards, although several folks think she's been over the back. But if they don't call it, it's not a foul. Makes 1. Makes 2. Shaw leads 59-57 with 40.7 seconds left.

Trojans miss opportunity. Couldn't get the shot or the putback. Hatcher is at the line. Makes 1. Misses 2. 60-57 with 17.4 left. Trojans need a 3. I know, duh!

Lyons misses a 3-ptrs. Shaw gets rebound and Brooks is fouled. Only need 1 with 5.5 seconds left. Misses,VSU ges rebound and Cana Marriott hits a 2 at the buzzer. Thing is, they needed a 3. Foot was clearly on the line. Shaw wins by 1.

 

GAME THREE: LIVINGSTONE VS. FAYETTEVILLE ST. - MEN

Both teams with spirited play early on. Broncos take 7-4 lead but BB are playing with more passion than last night's matchup vs. St. Aug's.

Mark Thomas ties the game at 12. Thomas was a beast against the Falcons, scoring 28 pts.

I don't know who started the idea of women and tatoos, but it is so unattractive.

I took a walk around TWC Arena in between sessions and I tell you it was dead. I can remember when there were vendors on three levels. Now, it's just one and you can barely find anything worth anything.

Jody Hill hits a 3 and BB lead 15-12. Broncos retake the lead 22-21 after trailing 21-16. Anthony Shelton's 3 makes it 25-21.

Looking at the NCCA regional rankings, VSU women are No. 5, Shaw is No. 8 and FSU is No. 9. On the men's side, no CIAA team is listed in the top 10. It's been years since the conference has been shut out, so the winner of the tourney will be the lone representative.

Broncos are looking good. Travis Marcus' layup gives FSU its biggest lead of 6-pts with 4:02 left in the first.

LC has scored 5 in a row and trail by 1. The Blue Bears would be ahead if they could grab a rebound, but Thomas takes care of that with a short jumper to give LC a 1-pt lead. Shelton nails another 3 to give FSU a 35-33 halftime lead.

Blue Bears lucky to be down by only 2 after shooting 29.4%. Thomas and Hill tied for 10 points apiece, while Shelton was the game's high scorer at 11.

BB have scored the first 7 pts in the second half and lead 40-35.

Tyrrel Tate breaks the drought with a 3-pt play, but Anthony Welch gives BB another 3 pts. Thomas adds another 3 for a 46-38 lead. And Eric Mayo gets the putback for LC's biggest lead yet of 10 with 15:35 left. Now at 11. Now at 13. Marquette Hill finally ends the streak with a dunk. 14:07 left and LC leads 53-42. Now 55-42.

Thomas hits another 3. Now has 24 points.

Broncos have scored 5 straight. Trail by 7 with 10:07 left. TO Blue Bears.

Make that 5 now after Tate goes all the way for a layup. Torian Showers make it a 3-pt LC lead. Momentum has changed. Will we have a situation like the Winston-Salem vs. Lincoln women's game, where the Rams blew a 12-pt lead with 9 minutes left. Joshua Dawson ties the game with a 3 as he's falling down. 8:10 left. And now Broncos have chance to take first lead since halftime.

Dawson gives Broncos a 3-pt lead with a 3. Blue Bears look disorganized and frustrated. Tate's long turnaround makes it 67-62 with 6:29 left. TO Blue Bears.

Bailey ends the 16-0 Broncos run. Thomas just committed his 3rd personal foul. Broncos lead by 3 with 5:13 left. Tate fouls out for FSU with 4:27. He has 19 pts.

Thomas gives LC a 1-pt lead with a 3. 4:01 left. Blue Bears are letting Broncos just go to the basket uncontested. Nobody wants to draw a charge. Bailey hits 2 FTs to give LC a 3-pt lead with 2:37 left.

Mayo's FT makes it 2 pts LC lead with  2:06 left. FSU player steps out of bounds, giving BB ball back. Welch hits 2 FTs. Up by 4 until Juwan Addison goes in for layup. 73-71 LC. 1:25 left.

Mayo hits one FT for 3-pt lead. Dawson's 2 FTs trims it back to 1. Also commits a foul with 33 seconds left. Thomas at line but missed last time. Missed again. Makes second. BB by 2 with 33.2 seconds left. Folks are coming in for the JCSU vs. WSSU game next.

FSU called for an illegal screen. BB gets the ball back. Louis Craft fouls out with 25.9 seconds left. Mayo at the line. Misses 1. Makes 2. 3-pt lead.Mayo steals the ball AND is fouled. Makes 1 of 2. 77-73.

Marquette Hill is fouled. Misses 1. Misses both. It's WSSU women all over again. LC wins 79-73. Good game. They are back in the championship game for the second straight year and third of past four.

 

GAME FOUR: WSSU VS. JCSU - MEN

Smith is leading early 22-16. Golden Bulls defeated the Rams in their final 2-pt matchup. Remember, the first game was halted due to a hanging light fixture and resume two days later and won by Smith in OT. That loss cost the Rams the division title after they beat the Blue Bears in the regular season finale.

Smith is holding onto a 29-28 lead with 4 minutes left in the first. Feels like fans are still drained from the earlier game. I know I am.

Robert Williams gives Smith its biggest lead of 13. Rams score right before halftime so Golden Bulls lead 43-34.

Smith maintaining a 10-points lead after Robert Williams hits a jumper. 16:47 left in game.

Smith is pouring it on the Rams. Emilio Parks slam gives Golden Bulls a 12-pt lead with 13:36 left. Surprised at how many folks have left. Thought the crowd was waiting for this game but either they're going to party or to sleep.

Golden Bulls is kicking some serious Rams behind. Lead 57-41 with 12:47 left. If they have a double-digit lead by the 5-minute mark, I'm outta here. Been a long day and baby it's cold outside.

OK, Rams making a run. WyKevin Bazemore's layup cuts the lead to 11 with 9:35 left. Kerry Campbell scoops in a nice shot to trim to 9. But Antwan Wilkerson stops the bleeding and puts Smith back up by 11. Javan Wells counters with a 3. 61-53 with 8:37 left.

Preston Ross' putback makes it 6 points. Now it's at 4 with 6:43 left. TO Smith.

Alrightly, Marquez Jones' reverse layup pulls it to 2. Jones was fouled from 3-pt range. Misses, 1, 2, makes 3. One-pt. game. Smith goes back up by 3 after 2 FTs. Jones nails a 3 to tie the game wth 4:30 left. Somebody call the fire department, Jones is on fire!! He hits another 3 to give Rams their first lead of the second half.

Ross gives Rams a 5-pt lead with 2:46 left. Smith has self-destructed. 2 more FTs and Rams lead by 7. You're talking about a 23-pt turnaround by the Rams, and they have the ball. Smith has gone stone cold. Can't buy a bucket. Rams still ahead by 6 with 1:01 left.

What a turnaround for the Rams. Jones is at the line. Shoots 2 FTs. WSSU leads by 10. Rams win 78-71. Get out of Dodge!

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
What people are talking about - 2/27

They’re B-A-A-A-A-C-K! Google Fiber is again looking at North Carolina for its next rollout phase. Supporters are asked to tweet @GoogleFiber and tell them to select the Triangle.

A deadly synthetic drug is making its way in the area. The N.C. Department of Health & Human Services last week issued a health advisory for acetyl fentanyl following three deaths from the drug. Officials say the drug is more potent than heroin.

Another hotel is coming to downtown Raleigh. The City Council approved the sale of .52 acres on South Salisbury Street for the construction of an 11-story Marriott Residence Inn. Now where everybody is going to park is a different matter.

And the federal government has approved light rail for Durham and Orange counties. Not surprisingly, Wake still thinks it's a bad idea.

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
CIAA Tournament - Day Three

Oh yeah, baby, here we go with the men's quarterfinals. Should be a great day of basketball. Livingstone vs. St. Augustine's are kicking off the four-game day. Both teams have come out tight, as expected. Falcons coach Tony Sheals said last night that he thought his team had the edge since they have played two games versus none for the Blue Bears. "Our engine is still running," he said. We'll find out how many miles it has left on it. All games are being televised in Bounce TV or ME TV.

We are tied at 5. SAC center Jonathan Crawley has 4 of the points. The Falcons have scored 4 straight points to take a 4-pt lead. Both teams are cold from the field. Raheem Jollifee makes it a 12-5 Falcons lead with 13:06 left in first half. LC can't find the basket, which is what happens when you haven't played since last Saturday. Much better first-game crowd today.

Daniel Clark adds 2 more the SA's lead and has a chance for 3-pt play. Missed FT. Falcons playing some good D. Have 3 blocks already. They are inspired. It's tourney time!!! Mark Thomas breaks LC's drought. Dang, one more foul and Falcons will be in 1-and-1 with 10 minutes left.

Now, they're in the 1-and-1. Between that and TV timeouts, going to be a long game.

BB make a run – and they have the largest fan base here so far – five straight points and they trail 17-13 with 7 minutes left in first.

Amere May breaks the run with 2 FTs, his first points of the game. But as Sheals said, he doesn't have to score to contribute. Joel Kindred gives Falcons a 6pts lead before Hill nails a 3 to cut it to 3. Hill just put a nice move on and got the basket and was fouled. Makes FT. Game is tied with 4:23 left in first. Stockdale gives Falcons back the lead.

Hill  is carrying LC right now. Has 10 points and just gave BB their first lead with 2:41 left in half. May just missed a layup. Thomas the line. Hits  1 FT. Hits 2. LC has biggest lead of 5. And then takes a TO with 46 seconds left.

May hits his first 3 before Anthony Welch thought he had a shot at the buzzer. But after a review by the officials, they have called it off. BB lead 292-8 at the half. What a game. Oh yeah it's going to be a great day.

Hill scored 12 points in the half, and Thomas added 10.

Blue Bears are still to find their shooting touch. Lead 47-38 as Hill has 17 points and no Falcon is in double figures. Thomas' layup gives LC its biggest lead of 11. Thomas leads the team with 18 points. TO Falcons.

Tashaun Stockdale, who led the Falcons past Shaw last night, hits a turnaround jumper, but BB come right back with a bucket.

Anthony Welch nails a 3 to put LC up by double digits again.

Falcons making a brief rally after 2 FTs by Kindred. Trail by 6 but Emarri Bailey hits for LC. 7:26 left in game. There are more people here right now than all of Tuesday and half of Wednesday.

Kindred cuts the lead to 4 with 6 minutes left but BB come right back. Thomas goes in for a layup and is fouled. Hits FT to give LC and 8-pt lead with 5 minutes left. Crunch time for Falcons.

LC is going to win this one. Lead 71-63 with 46 seconds left. Falcons forced to foul. Good run for SAC. It didn't go quietly into the night.Hill puts an exclamation on it with a slam dunk. BB move on to semifinals tomorrow.

Thomas finished with a game-high 28 points, while Hill added 19. Kindred and Stockdale tied for 13 points apiece.

 

GAME TWO: BSU VS. JCSU

The Golden Bulls have come out fired up. Emilio Parks has 8 of their 21 points. Lead BSU by 7. BSU coach Darrell Brooks is sporting a drak grayish suit with a lavendor shirt and matching tie. Hey, may not be important to you, but it's darn sho' important to me. The man doesn't even unbutton his jacket. How cool is that? Oh well, back to the game.

Smith sporting a 26-18 lead. And here is Mr. CIAA in a faded orange outfit. Now, the tourney can continue.

Golden Bulls have built a 10-pt lead. Playing inspired ball and with much more rhythm than the Bulldogs. Definitely a pro-Smith crowd.

Smith ain't playing. Golden Bulls have a 13-point lead with the half almost over. And now it has. Smith leads 41-39 at halftime.

Alright, let's see what the defending champs are made of. Smith leads by 10 at the start of the second half. Parks led all scorers in the first with 13 points. Smith shot a sizzling 69.6 percent from the field.

Parks just committed his 4th fourl with 15 minutes left. And David Golladay's steal and layup pulls Bowie to within 5 with 14:41 left in game.

Bowie just missed two opportunities to score 4 straight points. Instead Richard Daniels hits a basket to put Smith back up to 7. Raston Brown makes it 9. Bulldogs had their chances.

It's looking more and more like we're going to have a new men's champion. Smith leads 67-58 with 5:16 left. Antwan Wilkerson also has 4 fouls for Smith.

Every time I say that, the other team rallies. Bowie's Cameron Knox hits a layup. Smith leads by 5 with 5 minutes left.  Trawn Rogers tips in a missed 3-pointer and it's down to 3. Smith hits a FT to make it four. Parks is fouled and hits both FTs to make it 6 pts. Still 2 possession game. Ray Gatling swoops in a layup. Wilkerson gets a putback and is fouled. Makes FT. 73-66 with 2:26 left.

Gaitling hits another one. TO Bowie. Golden Bulls hanging on 75-70 with 1:07 left. Gatling hits 2 FTs to cut it to 3. LeMarquis Letchaw is at the line. Hits 2 FTs. Smith back up by 5 with 1 minute remaining. But Knox cooly nails a 3 to cut it ito 2. Oh yeah, baby, down to the wire.

Letchaw cooly nails a short jumper as the shot clock wound down to put Smith up 4. Then a tie-up at the other end. Possession Smith with 16 seconds left. Bowie forced to foul. Letchaw is doing it all. Back at the line and hits a FT. After a monstrous dunk by Bowie, Richard Daniels is fouled. Needs to hit just 1 to put it out of reach.  Makes it with 6.1 seconds and up by 4.

Game over. Bulls win! Bulls win 81-77. One champion down.

 

GAME THREE: FSU VS. LINCOLN

This is as even a matchup as they come. The Lions basketball program has revived under coach John Hill, while FSU coach Alphonza Kee is having his best season. His colleagues thought so since he was named CIAA men’s coach of the year.

As expected, the game is a seesaw affair early going. Interestingly, many of the fans have left – most of them Smith fans of course. But expecting a big crowd for the last game between Winston-Salem State and Elizabeth City State. Fans travel well for both schools.

Still an even game with 10:02 left in first half. Broncos lead 19-17.

Gracious, both squads look rusty. Not to mention the depth perception of trying to shoot in TWC Arena takes a while to get used to.

Broncos have pulled out to 26-19.  Derrick Washington breaks the streak with a 3.  Lincoln ‘s lead cut to 4 with 4:39 left. Justin Jackson’s bucket makes it 2 points. After Lincoln ties it up, Anthony Shelton puts FSU back ahead by 3. Anything you can do, Jackson counters with his own trey.

FSU’s Louis Craft just threw down a dunk to give Broncos a 6-point lead with 23.7 seconds left in the half. Wow, Shelton just hit a long 3 as time expired to give FSU a 41-34 halftime lead.

The Lions came all the way to take a one-point lead, but the Broncos didn't panic and have since scored 8 straight to lead 50-44 with 14:29 left in the game. Starting to see a large contingent of red in arena. Rams fans flowing in.

Broncos lead is up to 9. Playing very good ball. Impressed how they didn't panic after Lincoln tied the game.

Lions not giving however. Trail 58-54 with 8:32 left. Not anymore. Tyrrel Tate hits a 3 to make it 7. Everytime LC makes a run, FSU has something for them.

Broncos are 1:30 from advancing to Friday's semifinals. Lead 76-69 with 1:28 left. Good thing this is not too close a game where FSU needs to make free throws. They are barely hitting the rim. Yep, FSU is moving on with 26 seconds and an 8-pt lead. OK, make it 6 after George Jackson makes a layup.

What is that mess FSU cheerleaders have on their eyelids? Somebody said glitter. They look like giant bugs.

Kee pulls a Jacques Curtis. He calls a time out wiht 8.4 seconds left and up by 7. He's showboating. No reason to do that. Game over. Broncos win 81-74.

 

GAME FOUR: ECSU VS. WSSU

Rams came out roaring first and built an 8-pt lead but the Vikings have calmed down and tied the game at 17-all. The Vikings are heating up and playing tough defense. Glenn Patterson just nailed a three to give ECSU its first lead. 9:36 left in first half.

WyKevin Bazemore ties up, but Shaquil Barber gives ECSU the lead back.

After the Rams take a one-pt lead, DeCarlos Anderson nails a 3-ptr to put ECSU back ahead 25-23 with 7:04 left in first. LaShawn Alexander makes it a 4-pt lead.

And we have another tie game after Tyre Desmore hits 2 FTs.

Dominique Byrd hits a turnaround jumper to put Vikings up by 2. This is the game we all expected. Bazemore counters and we're tied again. Dead crowd. It's 10:35 p.m. and folks are half asleep, including the media.

Halftime: ECSU 35, WSSU 33.

We're back! TWC Arena internet went down during the halftime of the Fayetteville State/Lincoln game and just came back up. Doozy of a game. Rams lead 69-67 with 26.1 seconds left. Preston Ross is at the line. Makes 1. Misses 2. Vikings get the rebound but shoot a 2-ptr instead of a 3. Rams get the rebound with 13 seconds left. Ross makes first FT. Makes second. TO Rams.

Rams win 74-70! Good game.

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
CIAA Tournament - Day Two

Wednesday here at the tourney's first game and there are 200 people instead of the 50 from yesterday.

Bowie State and Virginia Union are opening up the day's seven-game schedule. Another entertaining game. Bulldogs led at halftime 24-23, but VUU has taken a one-point lead early in the second. Hey, it was a long night OK. Girl gotta get her beauty sleep.

But folks are missing some good games. Only one dud yesterday. The lead is going back and forth. Ashle Freeman is on fire for the Panthers. Has hit back-to-back baskets to give Panthers a 34-32 lead. Has 13 points with 15:21 left in the game.

Panthers pull ahead by 4, which is a big lead for this game but BSU's Donia Naylor pulls her team to within 2. Another Freeman basket, this time a 3, but BSU answers right back. Yeah, this is a good one. Jasmin Dancy layup gives VUU its biggest lead 47-41, but Naylor says not so fast, and nails a 3.

Lady Walker's FT gives Panthers a 52-48 with 5:35 left. What a quick game. Not even an hour and 30 minutes old yet. Maybe somebody talked to the officials and said don't be calling those ticky-tack fouls. Melyse Bown gives VUU its biggest lead of 6 pts with 4:36 left. Brown again with a layup and now it's an 8-pt lead. Brown scores her 6th straight point and it's a 10-point lead.

Freeman gives the Panthers their biggest lead yet of 13 points with 2 minutes left. Looks like VUU will move to its first semifinal under coach Wooten-Cherry. And it's not even 11:30 a.m. yet.

The final score is not going to reflect how close this game was. VUU wins 73-53.

 

GAME TWO: SHAW VS. LINCOLN

The Lions defeated Shaw earlier in the regular season but this is a whole new ballgame. Oh yeah, officials don't want to be called Lincoln (Pa.) anymore. They want to either be called just Lincoln or The Lincoln University, with an emphasis on THE. Go figure.

Lincoln jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead but Shaw caught up. Bears lead 8-6 and, no, there aren't any more fans in the stands than the first game.

Zephrah Pam's layup ties the game at 14 all with 11:37 left in first half. Amani Clark gives Lions a 2-pt lead.

Lions are hanging tough early. Still holding on to 2-pt lead with 7:22 left in first half.

Another good game for women's basketball. We're all tied at 24 with 2:40 left in the half. Lisa Saunders' 3 breaks the tie.  But Verdine Warner gets the rebound and putback to trail by 1. Brittany Henry gets the layup and is fouled. Misses FT. Shaw up 28-27. Lincoln is making the Bears play their pace of basketball right now. Saunders nails another 3 andn Lincoln leads 30-28 but Kamiya Burwell is fouled going to the basket. Makes one FT. Misses second. Game is tied at 30 at halftime. Ahhhhh, sookie, sookie now!

Pam led all scores with 10 points and 9 rebounds at the half. But Shaw is a second-half team and I'm sure Jacques Curtis has a few choice words for his team.

Shaw scores first 4 points of the second. But Pam hits a layup to close it to 2.

What did I just say. Shaw is starting to pull away, and Lincoln is starting to get into foul trobule. Shaw leads 41-32 with 16:24 left.

The Bears have held the  Lions to just 5 second-half points. Shaw leads 49-35 but looks rusty, which is usually the case for teams with byes.

Lincoln making a game of it. Pulled to within 8 with 7:38 left. And it's colder than a polar bear's butt in here. Not enough black folks to draw any heat.

Bears  have weathered the storm and pulled back out to a 61-48 lead. Shaw  is going to win this one with 70-56 lead with 55 seconds left. Four Bears scored in double figures, led by 15 points apiece from Diamond Mitchell and Kamiya Burwell.

 

GAME THREE: FSU VS. J.C. SMITH

Won't be much talked about for this game. Broncos are putting it on the Bulldogs. Lead 37-23 with 15 minutes left in the game. It's hard to sit up top for an entire game that I'm not covering 'cause it's so C-0-0-0-0-0-L-D! When white people are cold, you know it's bad. First time seeing FSU this season. It's hard to tell anything when teams are coming off first-round byes but the Golden Bulls are certainly no match for them.

Broncos up 54-35 with 7 minutes left. At least the crowdis starting to trickle in. The 7 p.m. game is going to be a doozy as the Falcons and Bears do battle for the third time. Then JC Smith and Virginia State will bring the rear in the final matchup of the night. But before all that, St. Aug's women take on VSU in the next game.

Mercifully, this is about the end. Broncos up 61-36.  Game over 70-47. Whew!

 

GAME FOUR: VSU VS. ST. AUG'S

The Falcons lost by one to the Trojans during the regular season. But, and let's all say it together, that was another place at another time. This is for all the marbles.

Just found out from colleague Lut Williams that VSU has 3 N.C. A&T transfers on the team: Tiffanie Adair, Lamesha Deal and Jessica Lyons. All three are all-conference. Deal was named CIAA women's player of the year but right now she's on the bench with 2 fouls in 5 minutes. Lut said Amber Calvin who was also at A&T had planned to transfer to VSU but was talked into going to Fayetteville State instead. Can you imagine of the Aggies had all four of them on the team. Despite the departures, they are still in second place in the MEAC. Hmmmm, interesting!

That's why I say the pressure is on the Trojans to win it all. Only lost 1 game, though critics criticize their strength of schedule. Still, when you have one loss and is nationally ranked, and you have at least 3 DI starters, you need to win sumthin'. Right now they lead 13-10.

Falcons hanging tough. Trail 22-18, but just as I write that VSU scores 4 straight points. Coach Rachel Bullard call timeout and girlfriend is not happy. Then what do they do, turn the ball over on the next possession.

VSU starting to exert control. Lead SAC 36-19 with 3:46 left in 1st half. Trojans' biggest lead was 19 points. Falcons have cut it to 17. Halftime: VSU 44, SAC 25. Remember, it's a game of halves. Anything can happen.

Adair led all scorers at the half with 14 points. Trojans didn't do much wrong: shot 51.9% from the field, hit 50% of 3-pointers and was 68.4% from free throw line. The Falcons on the other hand shot just 23.1% from the field, missed all seven 3-point attempts but did hit 81.3% of free throws.

Trojans not letting up in the second half with a 55-35 lead at the 14:29 mark.

No,  it hasn't gotten any better since I've been away. Trojans, and I think I called them Broncos earlier, leading 68-46.

Winston-Salem State President Donald Reaves has released a statement announcing Athletics Director Bill Hayes will retire  Feb. 28. I will publish the entire statement once my fingers warm up.

 

MEN'S GAME: ST. AUG'S VS. SHAW

The Falcons have an early 8-6 lead. Could barely get out of the postgame interview room with St. Aug's. SID Anthony Jeffries asked the seniors to sum up their careers. Wrong question to ask; the water works started falling. That's the saddest part about the games. Somebody college playing career has ended.

Raheem Jolliffe ties the game at 12. Both teams cold shooting. 9:26 left in first half.

The game so far is a seesaw affair. The lead has changed hands or been tied a dozen times. Shaw leads 22-21 right now but Falcons are at the lie. Much better crowd tonight but still nowhere near what it used to be.

And we are tied at the half 27 all. Shaw's Jeffery LeGree hits the basket as the clock expires. Oh yeah, this is going to be a humdinger.

St. Aug's Tashaun Stockdale and Shaw's Larry Richardson both had 10 points apiece.

May puts the Falcons on top first in the second with a short jumper for his first points of the game. Who would have thought he'd be shutout in the first half. Stockdale's steal and dunk gives the Falcons their biggest lead 35-27 on an 8-0 run. Joe Reid breaks the drought for Shaw. Pace is picking up after a slow first half.

Falcons starting to dictate the tempo. Beat Shaw at its own game. Jon Crawley converts 3-pt play to give Falcons biggest lead yet of 10 points. Reid breaks the drought again with a FT. Falcons getting the ball inside to "Big Jon". Crawley hits 2 FTs for 11-pt lead with 15:22 left in the game.

St. Aug's is having its way. Lead the Bears 46-34 with 12:19 left. I think that Chowan win last night was the jump-start it needed to turn around its season, while Shaw had a bye.

Falcons are killing Shaw with 3-pointers. Everybody is getting in on the action. Lead 52-36 with 7:37 left. Somehow, don't see Shaw coming back from this.

Falcons win 74-59 to advance to the semifinals. Go figure.

 

VIRGINIA STATE VS. J.C. SMITH

The last game of the day and W-A-A-A-A-Y ahead of schedule. It was projected to start until 9:40 and we are already in the second half at 9:40.  Smith led at halftime 33-28 behind Antwan Wilkerson's 10 points.

Smith's lead is 8 points. Again, the team that has played a game is looking better than the one with a bye. And on that note, think about Livingstone, Winston-Salem, Elizabeth City State and and Lincoln. They had double-byes and have yet to play a game. Talk about rusty. As St. Aug's coach Tony Sheals said about playing the Blue Bears tomorrow, "Our engine is running. They haven't played." Here's a guarantee: One of the four won't make it past Thursday.

The way it looks VSU won't make it past tonight. Smith leads 53-41 with 12 minutes remaining. Much better crowd to watch the Golden Bulls.

Wrote too fast. Trojans making a rally. Have cut the lead to 7 and have the ball. Chris Grier's layup makes it 5 with 7:23 left. Crowd waking up now. Wilkerson is at the FT line. Makes 1. Makes 2. Smith back up 57-50. Larry Savage gets steal and layup. Back at 5. Bulls are in the double bonus.

Smith has weathered the storm temporarily. Back up by 10 with 5 minutes left. Now by 11 with 2:40 left. Game over. Golden Bulls will take on defending champs Bowie State. Oh my, what will coach Darrell Brooks wear?

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
CIAA Tournament - Day One

There are maybe 5 people at TWC Arena for the 10 a.m. women's game between St. Aug's and Elizabeth City State, including myself. Day didn't start off well. Get to the arena and press credentials weren't ready. And you've known about this event how long? Nor, I'm told, do we have parking passes. What other media do you know covers an important event like the CIAA and don't get parking passes? Oh yeah, Falcons lead early 10-7.

Just heard that Bill Hayes is no longer athletics director at Winston-Salem State. According to The Winston-Salem Journal, Hayes hasn't been at a game since early February. He was reportedly on vacation. He still is. Associate AD Tonia Walker has been named interim.

Although low scoring, this is an entertaining game. Vikings lead 19-17 with 2:40 left in the first half.

ECSU's Jadda Jeffries has 4 fouls with 40 seconds left in 1st. Jeffries was called for a charge, then ran down the court in protest. You know officials aren't going to take that. She was T'd up, which counts towards another personal foul. Falcons lead 23-19.

Halftime: 25-19 Falcons.

Falcons holding on to 6-pt. lead early in the second. Game intensity picking up. Too bad the crowd isn't. Ya'Shoti Bridgers putback pulls ECSU to 1. Tyche' Mozie gives ECSU the lead. Falcons take it right back on Lakiya Rouse's jumper. Mariah Powell nails a 3 for Vikings 33-31 lead Told you it was picking up. Quite entertaining. DaShera Boone's layup gives ECSU a 4-pt lead. Timeout Falcons.

Vikings holding on to a 4-pt. lead with 12:23 left. Not anymore. Jeanne-Marie Wilson can convert a 3-pt play. Makes it. Falcons trail by 1. Kaleisha Moores layup gives Falcons lead back 40-39.

Victoria Davis makes it 42-39 with 8:03 left. Falcons make it 44-39 as ECSU has gone stone cold from the field. Porscha Walton gets the steal and layup to give Falcons a 47-39 lead with 5:50 left.

Falcons would have to have a total collapse to lose this one. Up 53-45 with 2:25 left.

Falcons win 57-48. Davis, who scored 11 points, was name the game's MVP. Jeanne-Marie was the game's high scorer wwith 12 points. As the only senior on the team, Davis said this is her last hoorah. "I'm not ready to home yet," she said. "This is my last opportunity to come out on top."

Falcons take on Virginia State Tuesday at 5 p.m. St. Aug's lost to the Trojans by two points in the regular season.

 

SECOND GAME - VIRGINIA UNION VS. LIVINGSTONE

Nothing to see here except the Panthers are beating the uniforms off the Blue Bears 34-19 at the start of the second half. Expected a better effort from LC but basketball is a game of halves and runs. We'll see. Hey, there are maybe 500 people here now instead of the 5 earlier.

VUU is putting it on. Lead 48-31 with 12:40 left.

Since this is a blowout, all folks are talking about is where the tourney is going next? Bring it back to Raleigh so I can drive from home.

The game is over, mercifully. Panthers win 73-50. Next up is WSSU vs. Lincoln.

 

THIRD GAME - WINSTON-SALEM VS. LINCOLN

Rams are having their way on the boards early on. Getting second and third chance shots. Lead 16-6 with 14:50 left in the first half.

The Lions are making a mini-run. Have scored five straight and now trail 16-11 with 12 minutes left. The frisky Lions are come all the way back to a tie game. WSSU gone cold. 17 all with 10 minutes left in 1st. 

After going back and forth, WSSU has built another small cushion. Lead 28-22 with 4:42 left in 1st. Oh yeah, it's colder than Alaska in here.

The Rams have started to pull away. Lead 37-27 at the half.

A technical called on Lincoln's bench. Rams make 1 of 2. There were some what looked like fouls that weren't called on the Rams.

WSSU in command with a 42-29 lead with 16:05 left. Make that 45-29.

And, in case you're wondering, there about 100 more people in the Arena now than the last game. The men come on at 7 p.m. when JC. Smith takes on somebody, Virginia Union I think. That'll be ugly the way the Panthers are playing.

The Lions have come roaring back. Trail 56-53 with 4:29 left. And  have the ball. You can see the momentum swing.

Lisa Saunders makes it a 1 pt game. Ahhhh, sookie, sookie now. Lions had chance to take the lead by couldn't convert.

Rams convert an old-fashioned 3-pt play to go back up 6 points but Amani Clark cuts it in half with a tre. 61-58 WSSU with 2:40 left.

WSSU leads 61-59 with 1:52 left.

Zephrah Pam muscles up a rebound to tie the game. 61 all with 1:21 left. Lincoln leads by 1! Pam hits 2 FTs to give Lions their first lead of the game with 29.8 seconds left. Wow! It ain't over till it's over.

Cynthia Johnson hits a FT to give Lincoln a 64-62 lead. WSSU has chance to tie at the line but misses both. De'Jay Taylor is fouled but misses first FT so WSSU still has a chance to tie with 11.3 seconds left. Taylor misses both. WSSU at the FT line. Misses another!!! Lions win!  First CIAA tourney victory. You got to play the entire 40 minutes folks.

 

FOUR GAME - JOHNSON C. SMITH VS. CHOWAN

Missed this one. A girl's gotta eat ya know. Smith won by the way.

 

MEN'S GAME – VIRGINIA UNION VS. J.C. SMITH

According to VUU SID Jim Junot, the last time a Panthers team finished last in the division was 1930!!! VUU was at the bottom in the North. But the Panthers are leading the Golden Bulls early 12-9. There's a little better crowd in certain sections but nobody in the upper levels.

Well, lookie here: Panthers were ahead 26-16 before Smith converted a 3-pt play. CIAA tourney is a second life for teams. Panthers are playing lights-out ball. Lead 30-23 and not giving JCSU any easy baskets.

Lookie here, Panthers up 37-25 with 3:25 left in first half. Bet coach Steve Joyner Sr. will  have some choice words at halftime if this lead holds up. It's now 40-27. But as the WSSU/Lincoln women's game proves, it's a game of halves.

Halftime: VUU 40, JCSU 34.

Panthers not giving up the lead yet. Still hanging on with 46-39 lead with 16:03 left.

Uh oh, here comes Smith. While I've been talking to my colleague Herb White of The Charlotte Post, the Golden Bulls have pulled to within 2 with 14:23 left.

And we are tied after Christian Williams gets a putback. Panthers have scored 4 straight and lead 52-48 with 11:09 left. And we still have one more game to go. St. Aug's vs. Chowan. It's gonna be a long night.

Panthers have increased it to 58-48. Smith looks frustrated and discombobulated.

Joshua Linson hits a 3 and the GB now trail 61-57 with 7:16 left. Looks like another good one. Linson hits another one! Panthers ahead by 1 but GB has the ball. Turnover. VUU can't connect. It's getting wild out there.

Antwan Wilkerson nails a trey and ties the game with 5:13 left. Emilion Parks hits the layup and is fouled. Smith has first lead of the game. What a turnaround! Smith looked dead in the water 5 minutes ago and now they have a 5-pt lead with 3:43 left.

And we are tied after a 3 by Ken' Pankey at 73. Smith just missed 2 FTs and Union has the ball for the last shot. Charging call on Union. Smith now has the ball with 9.3 seconds left. Block by Bowie. We are in overtime!

Emilio Parks gives Bulls 2-pt lead. Omar Briggs ties it up. Parks gives Smith back the lead. Michael Wynn ties it up. Getting dizzy yet. Parks hits his 3rd straight basket. Avery Jirmnson hits 2 FTs to tie game again.

Raston Brown hits 2 FTs to give Smith back the lead. 1:32 left. Ray Anderson makes it a 4 pt lead with 2 freebies.

Parks just fouled out with 55.8 seconds left but Panthers miss 2 FTs. VUU forced to foul now with 40 seconds left.

Game over. Smith wins 89-85. Shame someone had to lose. Now we have to wait 20 minutes for the last game of the night.

 

GAME SIX - ST. AUGUSTINE VS. CHOWAN

The Falcons haven't won since beating Shaw earlier this month. Can they break the streak tonight? The Hawks have been playing well of late so this is not pushover game.

Amere May is starting off hot for the Falcons. Has 6 of Falcons 11 points so far, but Chowan is hanging in there. SAC leads 11-9.

The Falcons are hot from outside. Have outscored Chowan 10-0 to lead 19-9.

The Hawks are fighting back. Warren Powers jumper pulls CU to within 2 with 6:26 left in 1st half.

May is on fire. He has over half of the Falcons 37 points. 1:09 left in the 1st half. If SAC had performed better in the regular season, May would have been a serious contender for player of the year.

Halftime: SAC 40, CU 30.

May has 20 of the 40. St. Aug's leads 57-48 with 11 minutes left. It's 11 p.m. and folks are still here. St. Aug's gets it back up to double digits and I'm gone but Hawks are hanging tough. Trail 58-53.

OK, guess I'm not going home just yet. Hawks have cut it to 1 off Kortez Smith's 3-pointer. 7:49 left. So far, the Falcons have held Chowan at bay.  Lead 66-64.

May's jumper gives SAC a little breathing room with a 6-pt lead with 5 minutes left. Now it's 8 after Joel Kindred's layup. Now it's back down to 2. Chowan won't go away.

Jonathan Crawley fouls out for SAC. Falcons lead 74-70 with 1:24 left. Looks like the Falcons are going to pull it out. Lead 76-71 with 17.7 seconds left and May is at the line. Signing off.'

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sports news, notes 2/24

Who would have thunk it? Last month, Shaw men were 6-13 and reeling. The turnaround started after the Bears blew a last-second lead to archrival St. Augustine’s. Since then, Shaw has won four of seven games and earned a first-round bye at the CIAA Tournament in Charlotte. Each year some team gets on a roll heading into the tourney and the Bears look to be that team.

Fayetteville State and Shaw women came thisclose to major upsets. Both won by one point in their regular season finales: the Broncos had to rally to defeat St. Aug’s 75-74, while the Bears held off a spirited Johnson C. Smith team 62-61. FSU and Shaw tied for first place in the South but a coin flip gave the Broncos the division title.

Bowie State and Virginia Union women also tied for second in the North behind Virginia State. The Bulldogs got the coin flip and second place.

Long, long days are ahead for the media Tuesday and Wednesday. First game starts at 10 a.m. and the last around 9:40 p.m.  We’d better have some food, that’s all I have to say.

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Sports news & notes 2/22

The SWAC’s Alabama State has made an early-season statement. The Hornets baseball team upset SEC power Auburn Wednesday 9-3. Richard Amion was perfect at the plate with two hits, two runs and two RBIs. ASU lost by one run to the Tigers last season.

When you’re hot, you’re hot; and N.C. Central men’s basketball is on fire right now. When the “white” world starts to take notice, things must be going well. CollegeInsider.com has an in-depth look at the program on its website, www.collegeinsider.com/college-basketball-videos/. And ncaa.com has an article on seven teams seeking an invitation to the Big Dance, and the Eagles are one of the teams. The article is called “Maybe it’s time.” We shall soon find out.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the SIAC had the second-best football-signing day in Georgia behind the powerful SEC. The conference signed 54 Georgia players – two shy of the SEC. Of course, they still have to show up in the fall, but it’s a milestone nevertheless.

Answer me this riddle: How does a player on the worst team in the Northern Division get named CIAA defensive player of the year? Virginia Union’s Omar Briggs gets the trophy. The Panthers are 6-18 overall and 5-10 in the CIAA. They weren’t playing much defense.

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Monday, February 10, 2014
National Signing Day

For a listing of all SWAC signees so far, click here.

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, February 6, 2014
What people are talking about - 2/7

Hillside High Principal William Logan receives another prestigious honor. Logan was named the 2014 Outstanding Young Educator by the N.C. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The award honors educators 40 years and younger who “demonstrate exemplary commitment and exceptional contributions in school leadership.”

In a world of never-ending scams, here comes another one. Ever get a one-ring hang-up call on your phone? Hopefully, you don’t make a habit of calling it back to see who it is. Scammers have devised a scheme where if you call back, they not only charge you for the call but for each minute you stay on the line, according to the Better Business Bureau. So, don’t be so nosey. If it’s important, they’ll call back.

According to local media reports, over 60,000 signatures had been collected in protest of NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s guest appearance at the Raleigh Sports Council’s Evening of Champions Banquet next Wednesday. Vick has done his time, and he has every right to speak anywhere he pleases. It is, after all, a SPORTS banquet, not the Westminster Dog Show. Kudos to the Raleigh Chamber for not bowing to pressure. If you don’t like him, STAY HOME!

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Sports news, notes & rumors 2/5

You know it’s bad when  a coach gets the heave-ho in the middle of the season. Delaware State men’s basketball coach Greg Jackson was released Thursday after 14 years and a 200-216 record. But after the Hornets lost to New Jersey Institute of Technology, I had a bad feeling Jackson wouldn’t be back next season. Had no idea the powers-that-be wouldn’t wait that long. And, according to media reports, Jackson was two wins away from becoming the school’s all-time winningest coach. Assistant coach Keith Walker – remember him as the former Shaw men’s basketball coach – will serve as interim.

1973 Elizabeth City State graduate Larry Johnson has hit the big time – again. Johnson, a recruiter for Penn State, has been named assistant head coach/defensive line coach at Ohio State. Johnson grew up in Williamston, N.C.

In the Redemption Department, former Southern Athletics Director Greg LeFleur will receive $150,000 in a lawsuit settlement with the university. LeFleur was fired in 2011 after being arrested for solicitation in Houston while on a business trip. Oh, the jokes that made the rounds. But after he was cleared of all charges, he sued Southern for wrongful termination.

Clark Atlanta has been put on three-year probation by the NCAA for playing ineligible athletes, giving out improper benefits and a lack of oversight within the entire athletic department. According to the NCAA, the investigation began last March and discovered three men’s basketball players and a women’s tennis player competed while ineligible. I will never understand infractions in non-revenue producing sports. Other allegations include volunteer and assistant coaches giving athletes cash, airline travel discounts and, the most serious, giving an athlete a stolen student ID number so he could register for classes to remain eligible.

And the winner is…N.C. A&T. The Aggies won the first Honda Battle of the Bands competition last month at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Normally, the event just showcases the top HBCU bands, but this year fans got to vote for the winner. The Aggies beat out Morehouse, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Bethune-Cookman, Winston-Salem State, Alabama A&M and South Carolina State. Each school received $20,000.

“We wanted to try something new and unique,” A&T Band Director Kenneth Ruff said. “Our performance was diverse and not the traditional HBCU style of show.”

 

Posted by: Editor-Bonitta Best @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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