The Sandhills Community College basketball team held Lenoir CC without a basket for almost 10 minutes during the second half of Thursday's game at the Hangar. The Flyers scored 22 unanswered points during that stretch to help turn a three point deficit into an eventual 76-59 victory.
Josh Smith was 4-for-6 on shots from behind the arc and led the Flyers with 17 points. Also in double figures were Christian Lathan and Eric Field with 11 each. Kevel Kingsberry paced the Lancers with 18 points.
"Attrition had a lot to do with it," Flyers' Coach Mike Apple said, referring to a Lenoir team that only used seven players. "I asked the guys, 'did we wear them down or did they just wear out'? The truth is probably somewhere in between."
Next for the Flyers (14-4) is another non-conference game on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Caldwell Tech (13-3) in Hudson.
The home team led 35-32 at the intermission, but a Lancer squad that averages only five made threes per game remained in contention by making its sixth of the evening early in the second half. When Mike Felder finished a teammate's miss with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Flyers were looking at a 51-48 deficit.
"I feel a lot of it was that we were giving them open shots," said Field who helped spark the long Flyer run. "We weren't closing out the way we needed to. Once we picked up our defense we got our game going."
A three-point play by the freshman wing from Apex High School tied the game at 51-51. A three by Smith from Lathan, and then another basket in transition by Smith, from Field, put the momentum change into high gear.
The Flyers were now in a 2-3 zone that was giving the Lancers problems.
"We play a little zone against everybody we play," Apple said. "The thing tonight was they had been shooting the ball extremely well from the outside so that's why I waited so long to do it. We did a good job defensively in the second half. We were aggressive and we contested well."
Smith, Lathan and D'Angelo Harris assisted on three quick baskets inside by Shane Garrison that helped swell the margin to 68-51. Jeremias Easterling and Smith each split a pair at the free throw line to make it 70-51 before the Lancers finally snapped the run on a pair of free throws by Kingsberry.
Just over a minute remained in the game when Kingsberry scored to finally break the Lancers' long drought without a field goal.
"With the way we play where it's pretty much of a track meet, we knew that with them bringing seven players it was going to be to our advantage," Field said. "Especially coming off the break, we needed to beat Hines Prep (on Monday) and we needed to beat Lenoir (5-8). Now we need to beat Caldwell."
Flyer notes – Sophomore Zezva Liluashvili missed his second game in a row with a foot injury. The Flyers defeated the Division II Lancers for the second time this season. Division I Caldwell, which handed Davidson County CC its first loss of the season on Wednesday, defeated the Flyers 93-82 at the Hangar in early December. Germann Bostic, Hilary McLaurin, and Clay Thorne of the 2009-10 Flyers watched Thursday's game along with another member of that team, Flyers' assistant coach Tony Chapman. Athletic director Aaron Denton was the head coach of that squad.
Lenoir – White 2 0-0 5, Hammonds 4 4-4 13, Kingsberry 6 5-6 18, Burns 1 0-2 3, Felder 4 0-2 9, Moody 0 0-0 0, Knowlin 5 0-2 11 Totals 22 9-16 59. Sandhills – Lathan 3 5-6 11, McFadden 0 2-2 2, Smith 6 1-2 17, Garrison 4 1-1 9, Harrell 0 0-0 0, McCrimmon 1 2-2 4, Harris 3 0-0 6, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Moore 2 0-0 5, Easterling 2 2-5 6, Field 5 1-1 11, Childs 1 1-3 3 Totals 28 15-22 76. Three-point goals: LCC 6 (White, Hammonds, Kingsberry, Burns, Felder, Knowlin); SCC 5 (Smith 4, Moore).
by Charlie Bergmann
Photo by Donna Ford