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Currituck girls basketball routs First Flight on senior night w/Videos

Currituck 52 First Flight 20

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Currituck's Jessica Smith (right) fights a First Flight player for a loose ball during the game, Friday.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Saturday, February 10, 2018

BARCO — The Currituck girls basketball team made sure that there would not be a close finish on Friday night against First Flight.

Powered by a dominant first half, the Lady Knights defeated their Northeastern Coastal Conference rival First Flight 52-20 at Currituck County High School.

With the victory on senior night, Currituck (11-10, 6-4 NCC) closed the regular season with a winning record in league play.

The last time Currituck faced First Flight, the Lady Nighthawks secured a 32-31 win at Kill Devil Hills on Jan. 20.

On Friday night, the Lady Knights took a commanding 28-4 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the starting lineup for the Lady Knights continued its strong defense from the first two quarters as First Flight did not score until the four minute, 50 second mark of the period on a free throw.

At that point in the third quarter, Currituck led 36-5.

Friday's contest was the final regular season home game for seniors Jessica Smith, Lauren Gerni, Anna Poston and Ayanna Walton.

Late in the contest, the seniors that were in the game exited to a round of applause.

Poston led Currituck with a game-high 10 points, Smith and Walton followed with eight points, while Gerni had six points.

Trinity Evans, a junior, also scored eight points in the win.

Summer Banning led First Flight (6-14, 1-9 NCC) with six points.

The Lady Knights will face First Flight in the Northeastern Coastal Conference girls basketball tournament quarterfinal round, which begins on Tuesday at Pasquotank.

BOYS BASKETBALL

First Flight 60, Currituck 48: The Nighthawks erased a 10-point third quarter deficit as they defeated the Knights on Friday night. 

Currituck (6-15, 1-9 Northeastern Coastal Conference) held a 35-25 lead around midway in the third quarter.

First Flight (14-8, 5-5 NCC) closed the third frame with a 20-0 run to take a 45-35 lead into the final quarter.

First Flight sophomore Joseph Davidson started the run with a pair of three pointers.

Dylan Blake, who scored 10 points in the first half, got involved in the run for the Nighthawks as the sophomore and conference player of the year candidate scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in the third quarter.

"We lost some of their players on our defensive end," Currituck coach Gunnell Rupert said. "They knocked down shots. We know that's what they are good at."

Currituck's Ricky Owens, who scored 11 points in the game, and Lorenza "Bop" Spence led the Knights on an early run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 47-41.

Spence, a senior, scored six of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.

The Currituck coach noted that Spence is great underneath the basket.

"A great senior leader and I'm honored to be able to coach him the last four years," Rupert said. I'm glad that he could have a good senior night."

The coach added that he wished the team could have secured the win.

Before taking over as head coach this season, Rupert served as an assistant coach for the program.

The Nighthawks on offense attempted to salt away the final four minutes of the game by moving the ball and allowing the clock to run.

Currituck eventually fouled to stop the clock. The Nighthawks were in the bonus for a good portion of the fourth quarter.

After the seventh team foul by Currituck, the Nighthawks went to the free-throw line on every foul committed by the Knights the rest of the contest.

First Flight converted on 10-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter.

"I'm real proud of the guys," Rupert said. "They played real hard."

For the first 2 1/2 quarters, the Currituck defense slowed the high-octane First Flight offense that averages more than 70 points per game.

"We played really solid defensively in the first half," Rupert said.

First Flight also missed shots in the first two quarters.

Currituck's Logan Harp paced the Knights offensively in the first half as the junior guard connected on three shots from behind the 3-point line.

"Logan can shoot it," Rupert said. "He had a good defensive first half. He had a real solid game."

Harp scored 11 of his 14 points in the first two quarters.

Currituck led 26-22 at halftime.

Quavon White, who recently returned to the Currituck lineup after an unspecified suspension, scored six points on Friday and displayed his ability to break down a defense to get to the basket.

"He's helped a lot with ball handling," Rupert said of White. "He brings a good, positive attitude. He has great energy. He's a fun kid."

The coach noted that he was glad that White returned to the lineup.

Currituck will face First Flight in the quarterfinal round of the Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament on Tuesday.

The contest will be the third meeting this season between the clubs.

"We can't wait," Rupert said. "The guys are positive. They know that we can play with them. It will be another dog fight."

NCC TOURNAMENT

The Northeastern Coastal Conference released the schedules for the boys and girls basketball tournaments on Saturday.

The quarterfinal round of the tournaments will be held on Tuesday at Pasquotank.

Girls: Hertford County vs. Northeastern (4 p.m.); Currituck vs. First Flight (5:30 p.m.). Boys: Currituck vs. First Flight (7 p.m.); Pasquotank vs. Bertie (8:30 p.m.).

Quarterfinal winners advance to the semifinals on Wednesday at Northeastern.

The Bertie and Pasquotank girls earned byes to the semifinal round.

Pasquotank and Bertie ended the regular season with 8-2 records in league play.

Bertie won a random draw over Pasquotank for the No. 1 seed.

In the boys tournament, No. 1 Northeastern and No. 2 Hertford County have byes to the semifinal round.

Semifinal round action begins with the girls at 4 p.m.

The conference tournament championships will be held on Friday at Hertford County.

The girls final begins at 6:30 p.m. with the boys game at 8 p.m.

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