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Dazed Demons blitzed by Gryphons

February 1, 2011
Rocky Mount High School

By Tom Ham
Wilson Times

- Fike High found itself in trouble on the opening tip of Monday night's rescheduled 3-A Big East Conference varsity boys basketball game against visiting Rocky Mount.

Golden Demons' players watched as junior guard Tabias Hilliard grabbed the opening tip and raced in for an uncontested layup.

Fike's dazed state lingered far, far too long as the Gryphons, defending conference champions, trotted to an 80-56 triumph in bouncing back from Friday night's loss to Nash Central.

But for Fike, its skid reached 15 games and second-year head coach Brent Secrest's team tumbled to 1-16 overall and 0-6 in the league going into tonight's home test against conference rival Nash Central. The talented and deep Gryphons, who played all 14 players in the opening quarter, improved to 4-2 in the Big East going into tonight's league rematch at Hunt.

From the opening tip, Rocky Mount built an 8-0 margin, limiting the Demons to five opening-half field goals. The Gryphons' blistering pace and successful double-teaming tactics on the ball handler influenced Fike's 22 turnovers. More than five minutes elapsed before Fike netted its first field goal.

And fouling did not help Fike matters. The Gryphons responded by swishing 24 of 33 free throws. Head coach Mike Gainey's club, the reigning N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A champion, claimed a 39-32 rebounding margin. Twelve Gryphons scored.

Secrest compared Rocky Mount to 4-A Garner as the deepest opponent his struggling club has opposed this season. And Monday night's deficiencies left Secrest and his assistants somewhat befuddled.

"We were not ready to play -- that's the most disappointing part," Secrest said. "I told our players that, if they were not thoroughly embarrassed, to now show up (Tuesday). I certainly was.

"We stepped onto the court scared. We played very scared. At least, we have put up a fight and played hard most of the year. But it was not much of an effort tonight."

Josh King, a 6-foot-1 junior who led the Demons with a game-high 17 points and six rebounds, echoed similar sentiments.

"I haven't figured it out yet," King commented in searching for an explanation. "We waited too long to turn it up. I think the pace threw us off at first."

The Gryphons doubled up Fike 22-11 after one quarter and twice pushed their margin to 19 points in the second quarter. Their halftime advantage was 39-21.

Fike came no closer than 41-26 on junior guard Antonio Hinnant's 3-pointer early in the second half. Rocky Mount's advantage crested at 33 points. Secrest commended sophomore Patrick Goliday for playing hard.

Hitting 10 of 13 free throws, Kenneth Peoples, a 6-3 junior, canned 16 points for Rocky Mount. Junior Lavon Brutus scored 12, while senior Tevin Taylor and 6-2 senior Tacoby Hines, dominant in the second quarter, added 10 each.

"We have pretty much been playing everybody lately," Gainey said of constantly rotating in players. "We wanted to keep pushing the ball and forcing the tempo. You've got to have a game where (the players) have to understand we've got to work on some things. It's not about them, but about us.

"We played very aggressive tonight, and we've got to keep doing that. We can't rely on the 3. We've just got to get our confidence, get our rhythm back."

In the meantime, the Demons hope tonight will be finally be their night.

"We've got to quit thinking that," King emphasized, "and make it happen."

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