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Kerr-Vance Academy knocks Eagles from conference tournament

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Rocky Mount Academy’s Jordan (Jay) Crandell, right, attempts to shoot the ball as Kerr-Vance Academy’s Michael Bowers leaps up to block his shot Friday at Faith Christian School.

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By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Friday, February 9, 2018

With five and a half minutes left in the second quarter, Rocky Mount Academy’s Jay Crandell, matched up against tournament No. 1 seed Kerr-Vance Academy, nailed a 3-pointer to cut an eight-point lead to only five.

It was a dream start, at least compared to the last time these two played in mid-January, when KVA led by 25 points after one quarter.

But then, like a lightning bolt, came the Spartans’ run: a 20-4 run to close the half.

The Eagles could do nothing to slow the avalanche in the second half, and dropped the game, a second round matchup in the NCISAA Coastal Conference, by a 91-56 score. The loss ended the season for Rocky Mount Academy, which did not quality for the state tournament.

“We came into this game with the mentality that we were going to attack the basket, and we were going to pound the ball inside. That’s exactly what the boys did,” RMA coach M. Scott Dunn said. “They got it inside, took it to the basket hard, got them in foul trouble. Got in the bonus, exactly what we wanted to do. I was very proud of the effort in getting to the glass. That’s something we didn’t do in the first game against them.”

Crandell, a senior who Dunn called the Eagles’ leader all season, led the aggressive play for RMA early, scoring eight points in the first half, getting to the line eight times in the first 16 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for anymore than what he gave me tonight,” Dunn said.

But as the game progressed, both the athletic and shooting advantage for the Spartans was too much for RMA. During the pull away second-quarter run, KVA scored on seven straight possessions, four of which came on fastbreaks.

For the game, they made 12 3-pointers, including eight in the first half alone. Michael Bowers led the Spartans with 31, while both Thomas Miles and Andreas Wilson chipped in 22 points. Those three accounted for 75 of the 91 points scored for KVA.

“They’ve got some athletes on that team,” Dunn said. “They’ve got good experience, some good leaders, some good, quick athletes and some awesome shooters.”

Crandell led the Eagles with 13 points. Behind him was Trey Smelcer’s 12 points and Peyton David’s 11.

For Dunn’s four seniors, it was the last game of their high school careers.

“It’s always tough to lose, especially for the seniors, but they left it all out on the court and that’s all you can do,” the coach said. “It’s a lesson in life, not everything ends the way you want it to, but you’ve got to get back up and go at again.”

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