The No. 2 ranked Sandhills Community College basketball team faces its toughest test of the young season when it meets Brunswick CC on Saturday at 3 p.m. at The Hangar.
The Flyers improved to 7-0 with a 134-59 home victory over an undermanned Mount Zion Prep team on Tuesday. Evan Davis posted a double-double that included 17 points and 11 rebounds. Charles Thomas, another of six Flyers to score in double figures, also had 17 points to go with eight boards.
Division I Brunswick took a 3-1 record into Wednesday's game against the Francis Marion junior varsity. A free throw by Devian Smith provided the margin of victory for the Flyers in a 94-93 thriller last December. Returning for the Dolphins is 6-foot-8 Silas Love, a product of Hoke County who scored 33 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in that game.
Turnovers by the squad from Durham helped fuel a 27-3 start on the way to a 62-21 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes. During the intermission, Coach Mike Apple received a plaque commemorating his 200th victory as the coach at Sandhills that came in the first game of the season. In his ninth year, Tuesday's win improved his record to 206-67, including a national championship in 2012.
Including head coaching stints at Western Harnett and Pinecrest High Schools, the former Union Pines High School and Guilford College player has over 400 wins overall.
"I'm just very blessed to think that nine years ago I was at Pinecrest and very happy," he said afterward. "I was fortunate the good lord chose me to take over at Sandhills. I never thought it would lead to a banner for winning a national championship. It's a testament to having good players and coaches and being in the right place at the right time."
With T. J. Gill, Markell Lotharp and Daquain Towns of the 2012 team looking on, Davis erupted to score 15 points in a span of less than five minutes, helping increase the lead to 97-42. Midway through the half, Derreco Miller scored to put the Flyers over the century mark.
Non-starters accounted for 86 of the Flyer points. In addition to Davis and Thomas, Cameron Williams, 15, Miller, 10 and Niem Ratliffe, 9, achieved career highs. Freshman Collin Medins added six points and 10 rebounds.
We're really unselfish in how we play," Medins, an Apex Friendhip High School grad said. "Everyone gets the ball and that's great for team success.
"We came out wanting to win. The energy was great. I was motivated to get a lot of rebounds like I normally am. Tonight was a great night."
Apple liked the way his players shared the ball in a game they could have been padding their stats. Leading scorer Sayaun Dent took a back seat, making only one field goal.
"And that's big," the coach said. "It gets hard sometimes in that situation because it's so easy. The purpose of a game like this is to give guys opportunities to get comfortable doing things you hope they grow into. They all did a good job sharing the ball for the most part and our level of play stayed pretty consistent."
Also special for the coach was Gill and Towns visiting in the locker room after the game. One of the topics of the evening was the news that their 2012 teammate Tramaine Pride had been a part of his first victory as an assistant coach at Pfeiffer University on Sunday.
"I think Tramaine has a tremendous future," said Apple who also coached him at Pinecrest. "He was a really hard worker and made himself into a really good basketball player. He was one of the anchors of that team and a great locker room guy. There may be a few others from that championship team that get into coaching."
Mt. Zion – Gathers 3 3-4 12, Wilson 4 0-0 8, Gool 6 0-0 14, Scott 0 0-0 0, Boubia 9 3-11 21, Johnson 1 2-3 4, Jones 0 0-0 0 Totals 23 8-18 59. Sandhills – Staton 5 3-3 13, Allmond 3 0-0 6, Dent 1 0-0 2, Addison 2 1-2 5, Davis 7 2-2 17, Idlett 6 0-0 13, Ratliffe 3 0-0 9, Yow 1 2-2 4, Bryan 1 0-0 2, Bailey 2 0-0 5, Miller 5 0-0 10, Thomas 8 1-2 17, Williams 7 1-1 15, Richardson 4 0-0 8, Medins 3 0-0 6 Totals 58 10-12 132. Three-point goals: MZ 5 (Gathers 3, Gool 2); SCC 6 (Ratliffe 3, Davis, Idlett, Bailey).
by Charlie Bergmann
photo by Donna Ford