The heads of spectators at Heins Gym were swiveling back and forth on Monday night much as if they were watching a tennis match.
The Sandhills Community College basketball team raced out to a 20-3 lead against Hines Prep and breezed to a 109-82 victory in the hyper-paced game. Jeremias Easterling scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to record his ninth double-double of the season and the 19th of his Flyer career. Brandon Thomas also posted a double-double that included 11 points and 11 boards.
Also for the winners, Josh Smith poured in 17 points, including three treys, and Christian Lathan added 11 to go with a game-high four assists. Jon Addison led the visitors with 20 points.
The Flyers take a record of 13-4 into Thursday's 7 p.m. home game against a Lenoir CC squad that is 4-7. They defeated the Division II Lancers 95-81 in Kinston back in November.
In the Flyers' first game action in almost three weeks, Lathan got things started with a three. Smith drained a pair from behind the arc and Johnny McFadden scored in transition during a 13-1 opening burst. A three by McFadden a few minutes later made it 20-3.
The visitors cut the margin to 39-30 with just under six minutes remaining in the half. But Easterling responded with a drive to the basket that he turned into a three-point play.
Hines closed the gap to 16 points early in the second half, but the Flyers turned it up again and went over the century mark on a three-point play by Thomas with 3:57 remaining in the game.
Most of all, Flyers' coach Mike Apple was happy to get his team back into game action after an almost three week break.
"We had too many turnovers (14) tonight," he said afterward. "Hines has some good players and they broke us down defensively several times."
The points and rebounds were a season-high for the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Thomas who is a product of Nash Central High School.
"Most kids are not in as good of shape when they come back from Christmas as when they left," Apple said. "Brandon came back in better shape and I think that's the reason he had a big game tonight. I expect big things out of him."
The Flyers made 52.9 per cent of their shots from the field and out-rebounded the visitors 55 to 29. They are ranked second in NJCAA Division III with 52.9 rebounds per game.
Hines – Kirkpatrick 1 0-0 2, Bowen 4 8-10 16, Forde 0 1-2 1, Murray 4 2-4 11, Truesdale 5 3-5 13, Jones 2 0-1 4, Horten 5 5-9 15, Addison 8 0-0 20 Totals 29 19-31 82. Sandhills– Lathan 4 2-2 11, McFadden 3 0-0 7, Smith 6 2-2 17, Garrison 3 2-2 8, Harrell 2 0-0 4, McCrimmon 2 0-1 5, Harris 2 0-0 4, Thomas 4 3-3 11, Moore 3 0-0 7, Easterling 9 2-5 20, Field 3 0-0 7, Childs 4 0-0 8 Totals 45 11-15 109. Three-point goals: Hines 5 (Addison 4, Murray); SCC 8 (Smith 3, Lathan, McFadden, McCrimmon, Moore, Field).
by Charlie Bergmann
Photo by Donna Ford