Bulletin: PHCC rally falls short against No. 1 Louisburg

January 13, 2013
By MARK THOMPSON – Bulletin Sports Editor | Sunday, January 13, 2013
KiJuan Arrington goes up over a Louisburg defender during Saturday's home loss.

KiJuan Arrington goes up over a Louisburg defender during Saturday’s home loss.

Patrick Henry Community College fumbled away its best chance to beat top-ranked Louisburg College on Saturday — literally.

After fighting back from a 15-point deficit in the middle of the second half to pull within four points, PHCC’s men’s team had a series of four free throws to tie the game but missed three.

Then on the Patriots’ ensuing possession, PHCC guard Devante Davis was thrown a deep pass that he caught, but didn’t secure the ball when going up for the uncontested layup, subsequently losing the ball out of bounds.

PHCC never got closer and lost 87-77 to the Hurricanes (15-0) on Saturday at Stone Hall.

“It always hurts the momentum, and that hurt a lot, because right there were some easy buckets,” PHCC head coach Kenny Wade said. “(That was) a chance for us to put some easy points on the board, and we had the momentum. You’ve got to convert. It’s as simple as that.”

The reality of that stretch is this: With four made free throws and the transition layup, PHCC (5-4) would have led 77-75 with about four minutes remaining. Instead, with just a free throw to show, the Patriots trailed 75-72.

“It was a minor setback, but we had to blow it off,” PHCC’s Kijuan Arrington said. “We had to move on.”

But with the clock dwindling, the Patriots never quite recovered from it.

Louisburg scored five consecutive points and finished the game on a 12-5 run.

The Hurricanes are the top-ranked Division 2 team in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

“It’s a rivalry. It’s always going to be tough,” Louisburg College coach Mark Vanderslice said. “Coach Wade does an excellent job with his guys. It doesn’t matter if we’re up 20, or 25 or up 30, the game is not over with Kenny Wade and Patrick Henry.”

Louisburg was never up by more than 15 in the game and built that lead in the middle of the second quarter by attacking the rim.

The Hurricanes used a 16-2 run in the second half to take a 60-45 lead.

Louisburg College’s Micah Pancer spearheaded that run for the Hurricanes by driving to the basket. During that stretch, Pancer got to the line three times, including once to convert a three-point play.

“Micah came in and just played with a high level of energy,” Vanderslice said. “His level of intensity is what packed the punch.”

But the Patriots battled back from the deficit. Arrington and Kris Harris led the charge for PHCC. Harris led Patrick Henry in scoring with 22 points. Arrington gave the Patriots their biggest boost in the second half, catching fire for 16 points.

He scored 10 of those points in the first 31?2 minutes of the second half.

“I saw the ball go in once, so I felt like it was going to be good every time,” Arrington said. “I kept catching it in rhythm, letting the offense run, and I was getting it in good motion.”

Arrington scored 20 points for PHCC.

Only Luchel Sylvain and Dequan Kerman joined Arrington and Harris in double figures. Both guards had 12 points. Kerman scored eight of his points in the second half and had four assists in that half.

Harris was a big factor for the Patriots in a defensive first half that PHCC started with a quick 7-0 run.

Harris scored nine in the first half and hit four 3-pointers in the game. By halftime, Louisburg was able to battle back for a 30-29 lead.

The Patriots once again jumped out quickly to start the second half to retake the lead. PHCC led by three twice in the second half (33-30 and 36-33) before the score evened out at 39-39.

Patrick Henry Community College never led again.

Louisburg’s Kevin Williams led all scorers with 23 points and finished things off at the end of the game with an emphatic two-handed dunk.

“Any loss is disappointing to me. I don’t care if it’s the No. 1 ranked team or the last place team, I hate to lose,” Wade said. “I’m a competitor, and this coaching staff is (made up of) competitors. We hate to lose.”

The Patriots don’t have much time to dwell on the loss. PHCC will host Pitt Community College today at 3 p.m.

Filed under: Men's Basketball