A renewed commitment to defense has been the catalyst to Corinth Holders’ late-season turnaround, a point driven home in decisive fashion Tuesday night as the Pirates rolled to a 58-34 victory over visiting Burlington Williams in a N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A boys basketball first-round game.
Steven Adams scored 19 points to lead seventh-seeded Corinth (18-8), which won its eighth straight game and will host 10th-seeded Jacksonville in a second-round game on Thursday.
Corinth Holders didn’t give up its first point until the Bulldogs’ Cameron Wilson hit a free throw with 1 minute, 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter and limited Williams (12-15) to nine first-half points to take a 16-point lead into halftime. Corinth Holders led by double-digits the rest of the game.
“In the first half we played with our hands a little too much and missed some help situations, but for the most part our half-court defense the last several games has been pretty good and it was good tonight,” said Corinth Holders coach Chris Davis, whose team’s winning streak included a 75-50 victory over Smithfield-Selma on Friday in the Two Rivers 3A title game.
Corinth Holders did not get through the contest unscathed, however. Midway through the third quarter, starting wing Brian Frazier left the game for good after suffering an ear injury. Davis was not sure if Frazier, who had scored seven points prior to his exit and had been a pivotal part of Corinth Holders’ stifling defensive effort Tuesday, would be available for the second-round game against Jacksonville.
Early on, it was all Corinth Holders.
Johnavan Neal opened the scoring 30 seconds in when he hit a 16-footer from the left corner, and Frazier followed a minute later with a three-pointer from the left wing to stake Corinth Holders to a 5-0 lead. That lead surged to 11-0 when Adams made back-to-back layups in a span of 30 seconds, the latter of those coming off a nifty three-pass sequence in transition.
After leading 15-6 following the first quarter, Corinth Holders extended its lead in the last 1:06 of the second quarter, scoring the final seven points – four of those by Adams – to take a 25-6 lead.
“We have been a lot more confident,” Corinth Holders forward Trey Adams said. “We’ve made a few adjustments. We started practicing harder and getting to know each other better.
“The good start, it made things easier during the game.”
Torrance Williams had 10 points and Cameron Wilson nine points to pace Williams.