High School Sports

Kinston denies East Lincoln its first boys’ title, wins fourth straight

Kinston's Anthony Berry (1) and East Lincoln's Connor Ashley (10) battle for control of a loose ball during the NCHSAA 2A State Championship game at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, NC on Saturday March 14, 2015. Kinston defeated East Lincoln 60-43.
Kinston's Anthony Berry (1) and East Lincoln's Connor Ashley (10) battle for control of a loose ball during the NCHSAA 2A State Championship game at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, NC on Saturday March 14, 2015. Kinston defeated East Lincoln 60-43. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Kinston High ended East Lincoln’s unbeaten season in the N.C. 2A boys’ basketball final Saturday at the Smith Center.

With former Kinston star Jerry Stackhouse sitting behind their bench, the Vikings won 60-43 and captured their fourth straight state championship. Kinston (26-4) has won six state championships in the past eight seasons and 11 overall. East Lincoln (24-1) was denied its first state title.

East Lincoln, which played without injured starter Hayden Duggins, started basically a team of guards, trying to face Kinston’s 6-foot-9 Brandon Ingram, 6-5 Mykel Hart and 6-4 Darnell Dunn. Dunn and Ingram became the first NCHSAA boys’ players to win four straight state championships.

They were a big part of a Kinston defense that limited East Lincoln to 29.6 percent shooting. The Mustangs missed 14 layups.

“We just didn’t shoot well,” East Lincoln coach Neil Hodges said. “We shot less than 30 percent for the game and we haven’t shot that poorly in a long time. Our kids are good shooters. But their length bothered us. ...We shot the ball like sportswriters.”

Ingram, a McDonald’s All-American, won his second straight championship MVP after scoring 28 points and adding 10 rebounds and five blocks.

East Lincoln made 16 field goals, and got 10 of those from sophomore Sage Surratt (25 points, four rebounds). Chazz Surratt had 10 points and 12 rebounds, but struggled from the field, shooting 3-for-18. Only two other Mustangs scored. Damarius Valentine and Cameron Dollar (1-for-10 field goals) had four points each.

“I think (our defense) was effective when we started running (double teams) at the Surratt brothers,” Kinston coach Perry Tyndall said. “We tried to get them off balance. They’re so good.”

Valentine and both Surratts played all 32 minutes, and Hodges said depth was a factor.

“That’s a problem we’ve had all year,” Hodges said. “We’ve been seven deep. Tonight, we were six deep. But I always thought we’d come back. We got the turnovers, and then we’d get to the rim and miss. That’s incredibly disappointing. But we hadn’t faced a team with that kind of length all year.”

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