Hilltoppers upend Burns
R-S Central needed a crucial win Tuesday night against Burns to bolster its playoff resume. They got just that with a 64-47 victory over the visiting Bulldogs.
The Hilltoppers (13-11, 7-9 SMAC) just couldn’t find the bottom of the net in the early going as Burns (7-16, 4-12 SMAC) opened the game on a 9-0 run, including two 3-pointers.
“We were a little out of synch early,” Central head coach Greg Wright said. “We just couldn’t find a rhythm and they hit some big shots early.”
Rashaun Whitesides finally broke the run with 3:17 left in the quarter with a mid-range transition jumpers.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Whitesides and a deep 3 by Shawn Hines cut the Bulldog lead to 11-8 with 1:37 left in the frame.
After the initial Burns run, Central outscored the Bulldogs 12-6 in the final 3:17 of the first quarter to go into the second trailing 15-12.
Central scored four quick points out of the break to take its first lead of the game, 16-15.
Senior forward Jay’len Hollis made the Senior Night highlight reel seconds later with a one-handed dunk in transition accompanied by a foul and a hard fall to the floor. Hollis missed the free throw and went to the bench favoring his right arm, but the Hilltopper lead was now 18-15 with six minutes left until the half.
Central stretched its lead to 27-22 after four-straight points from senior Caleb Cope with 2:45 left in the quarter.
Burns rallied to take a 29-28 before the Hilltoppers scored the final four points of the quarter to go into the half leading 32-29 despite going just 2-of-11 from the free throw line.
“In spurts we played well enough to take the lead before the half,” Wright said.
The Hilltopper defense clamped down in the third quarter and held Burns to just eight points extending the Central lead to eight points, 45-37, heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final frame the Hilltoppers rallied to pull away from Burns.
The quarter was highlighted by a Cope 3-pointer to put the Hilltoppers up 64-47 with just over a minute left in the game to account for the final score.
Rashuan Whitesides led Central with 18 points and nine rebounds while Hollis scored 15 and pulled down nine boards. Desmond Whitesides had an effective night at point guard with 10 points and eight assists while Cope and Brian Hunt each finished with seven points.
“We just have to get better between now and hopefully next Monday,” Wright said. “I think at 13-9 (after dropping two non-conference losses) we’ve had a pretty successful season especially with the competition that we’ve played. If we don’t get in at 13-9 then there are 64 darn-good teams in the state of North Carolina.
“We’re going to practice the rest of the week like we’re playing on Monday and hopefully we’ll be practicing Saturday afternoon because that means we’re in and we have a shot.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
at R-S Central High School
February 18, 2014
RSC^12^20^13^19 — 64
Burns^15^14^8^10 — 47
R-S Central (64)
Rashaun Whiteside 18, Jay’len Hollis 15, Desmond Whitesides 10, Hunt 7, Cope 7, Hines 3, Whetstone 2, Lynch 2.
Gabe Falls 13, Tarell Epps 11, Wilson 9, Hamrick 6, Greeen 5.