Johnny McFadden had already demonstrated a hot-hand from the field in the first half of Wednesday's basketball game at Lenoir CC when Coach Mike Apple called out a play for him.
Juwaan Childs, the Flyers' 6-foot-4, 270 pound forward, set a solid screen at the top of the key and McFadden banked the ball in for one of his five first-half treys. Coming off the bench, the 5-11 sophomore helped his team soar to a 61-36 lead at the intermission by scoring 18 of his game-high 23 points.
"Normally when I come into a game and hit my first three I'm going to hit my second one," the product of West Columbus High School said before a class on Thursday. "At least that's the way I'm thinking. Then I caught fire a little bit and just kept shooting until I missed.
"Obviously last night was my night. I hope I can bring it into the next game too."
Making his first start of the season, Tavarus Peterson accounted for 15 of his 22 points after the intermission and Childs (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Zion Copeland (11 and 12) each recorded double-doubles. Coach Mike Apple's No. 7 ranked squad (NJCAA Division III poll) improved to 14-3 with the 98-86 road victory.
The Flyers were on the short end of a 96-91 decision at Division I Caldwell Tech last Saturday. They take a 3-0 record in Region X games into this Saturday's 7 p.m. contest at Heins Gymnasium against rival Davidson County CC (11-5, 2-1). They defeated the Storm 101-86 in a late November game that was also held at the Hangar.
The Flyers got it done on Wednesday with three starters, and five players overall, not seeing any action. A big plus were the performances by McFadden, Peterson, Childs and Copeland.
"Johnny is as good an athlete as we have on the team," Apple said. "When he gets it going he's as good of a long range shooter as I've seen. He gets high on his shots and is very hard to block."
After building up a 30-point lead, the coach watched the Lancers draw to within 10 in the second half helped by 24 Flyer turnovers that tied a season high.
"Needless to say I wasn't pleased with the turnovers," he said. "Most of them were unforced."
Flyers Extra – Forward Mason Harrell was 9-for-10 from the field and scored 20 points to go with 10 boards in Saturday's loss at Caldwell. "We probably should have gotten Mason more shots than we did," Apple said. The Flyers were within two points of the lead in the final minute when a three by the Cobras' Jeremiah Phifer helped wrap it up for the home team. Also on Wednesday, two former Flyers helped St. Andrews defeat Point University 91-83 in overtime in West Point, Ga. Christian Lathan flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block. Teammate Jeremias Easterling contributed 10 points and four boards to the Knights' cause.
Sandhills – Haith 3 1-4 7, Peterson 7 7-8 22, Moore 2 0-0 6, Morrissette-Barnett 2 2-2 7, Childs 5 4-6 14, Merriweather 0 0-0 0, Clarkson 0 2-2 2, McCrimmon 0 0-0 0, McFadden 7 3-4 23, Copeland 3 5-7 11, Murdock 2 0-2 6 Totals 31 24-35 98. Lenoir – Kelson 5 6-10 18, White 7 3-5 18, Agee 4 1-5 9, Brannock 2 2-2 6, Joyner 3 2-2 8, Ebison 6 1-2 15, Moore 3 5-8 12 Totals 30 20-34 86. Three-point goals: SCC 12 (McCrimmon 6, Moore 2, Murdock 2, Peterson, Morrissette-Barnett); LCC 6 (Kelson 2, Ebison 2, White, Moore).
by Charlie Bergman
photo by Donna Ford