The Sandhills Community College basketball team responded to Saturday's first loss of the season with a spectacular second half rally on the way to a 109-85 victory over Wake Tech on Monday.
Playing in the new gym on Wake's Rolesville campus, the lead changed hands 12 times in a first half that ended with home team on top 44-43. The game was knotted at 53-53 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game before the Flyers outscored the Eagles 40-12 over the next nine minutes to take a 93-65 lead.
Sayaun Dent post a double-double that included 16 points and 10 rebounds, and shared team-scoring honors with Charles Thomas. Elijah Idlett, Savion Staton and Tyrell Allmond contributed 12 points apiece.
The Flyers (15-1) dropped from No 1 to No. 2 this week in the Division III national rankings after the loss to USC-Salkehatchie. Richland, TX (14-1) took over the top spot. They hit the road again on Wednesday for a game at Lenoir CC. They defeated the Lancers 90-73 at The Hangar on November 6.
Powering his way inside often, Michael Armstrong scored 18 of his game-high 20 points for the Eagles (5-7) in the closely contested first half.
"We were flat to start the game and missed a lot of easy shots," Flyers' Coach Mike Apple said. "We had all kinds of foul problems and had to go deep into the bench. I think we gave Wake Tech confidence and when you do that it's hard to put a team away.
"I didn't foresee the run that we made in the second half, but I think we got to playing Sandhills basketball as far as the tempo. It's a strange game."
The Eagles scored the first four points of the second half to take a 48-43 lead. With the score tied at 53-53, Idlett began the decisive run with a basket in transition.
Thomas scored eight points and the final nine of the 40 included seven by Evan Davis and a three-point play by Derreco Miller that made it 93-65. In all, nine different Flyers scored during the nine-minute spree.
"I think it attests to our depth and the fact we had to put that last game in the rear view mirror and start getting better again," Apple said. "And that's what we did."
Freshman guard Corry Addison, a product of Fairmont High School, helped speed up the tempo in the second half and finished with eight points to go with a team-high five assists. He also liked the way the team bounced back from Saturday's loss.
"We came out really flat at the beginning and were playing no defense," he said. "Coach told us that if we didn't come out strong enough in the second half we were going to get beat.
"We don't like to lose so we started playing real hard. We lost to a pretty good team on Saturday, but we came back with some pretty good basketball tonight."
Flyers' Extra - After seeing limited action early in the season, Thomas, a 6-foot-5 red-shirt freshman from West Mecklenburg High School, has made 18 of his 26 shots from the field in the last three games and is averaging 8.9 points per over the last 11. He was asked about the loud cheer that came out of the locker room after the game. "It's Coach Apple's birthday", he said. With the team in foul in trouble, particularly late in the first half, sophomore Cameron Williams, a Union Pines grad, provided a boost by making two of his team's last three baskets and finished with eight points. Flyer fans travel well and again gave their team a nice lift at a road game.
Sandhills – Idlett 6 0-0 12, Dent 4 8-9 16, Bryan 1 0-0 3, Addison 4 0-0 8, Davis 2 3-4 8, Ratliffe 0 2-2 2, Staton 4 3-4 12, Allmond 5 2-3 12, Yow 0 0-0 0, Bailey 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 5-6 9, Thomas 7 2-2 16, Williams 4 0-0 8, Medins 1 1-2 3 Totals 40 26-32 109. Wake Tech – Baldwin 8 2-5 20, Atkins 5 1-2 11, Kee 2 1-2 5, Benjamin 1 1-4 4, Armstrong 9 2-3 20, McDuffie 1 0-0 2, High 2 2-2 6, Harris 6 3-6 15, Burke 0 0-0 0, Culberson 1 0-0 2, Evans 0 0-0 0 Totals 35 12-24 85. Three-point goals: SCC 3 (Davis, Bryan, Staton); Wake Tech 3 (Baldwin 2, Benjamin).
Photo by Donna Ford